Millennials Control Just 4.2 Percent of US Wealth, 4 Times Poorer Than Baby Boomers Were At Age 34

The millennial generation, people born between 1981 and 1996, make up the largest share of the U.S. workforce, but control just 4.6 percent of the country's total wealth.

Baby Boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964, currently control ten times more wealth than millennials, whose 72 million workers make them the most represented group in the workforce. Although it's not unusual for younger age groups to have less money than their elders, the average Baby Boomer working in 1989 during their early 30s had quadruple the wealth of what millennials have at that same age today. Three millennials—Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, who co-founded Facebook Inc., and Walmart Inc. heir Lukas Walton—hold $1 of every $40 among their generation.

Boomers control the majority of U.S. wealth, $59.6 trillion, which is twice the $28.5 trillion held by Generation X and more than 10 times the $5.2 trillion held by millennials.

Millennials, who are the median age of 32 today, control just 4.6 percent of U.S. wealth, far behind the 21 percent Boomers had at about that same age a generation before. These working young adults will need to quadruple their bank accounts in the next two years in order to match the financial share controlled by their parents during the late 1980s, when the median Boomer was 34 years old.

A generational wealth report published Thursday by Bloomberg draws from Federal Reserve data and shows the richest 50 American individuals have as much money as half of the United States, or 165 million people. The glaring disparities highlighted in the report reveal the coronavirus pandemic has worsened many of the already wide financial divides. The 50 richest people in the U.S. have earned $340 billion in just the first half of 2020, pushing the total worth of these several dozen people to nearly $2 trillion in combined wealth.

One major factor for the wealth disparity is the overwhelming majority of Americans don't benefit from rising stock prices. The richest one percent of Americans own more than 50 percent of the equity in corporations and mutual fund shares, Bloomberg notes. Upper-middle class Americans have seen a 10 percent drop in their equity interest in companies, as the richest 10 percent of U.S. adults now hold 88 percent of all stock shares.

The Millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, control just 4.6% of U.S. wealth even though they are the largest in the workforce with 72 million members. @BSteverman @atanzi

— Adam Tooze (@adam_tooze) October 8, 2020

The Federal Reserve estimates the top 10 percent of U.S. households control 70 percent, or $77.3 trillion, of the country's total wealth. This marks a 10 percent increase from the 1980s. And while the top one percent of Americans held onto 30.5 percent of U.S. wealth in June, the bottom 50 percent of the entire country went from having just 3.6 percent down to 1.9 percent.

Millennials have been unable to catch up with Generation X members, adults born between 1965 and 1979, who surpassed the wealth of the older Silent Generation (ages 75 to 95) in 2018. Americans in Generation X have doubled their collective net worth since mid-2016.

millennials money wealth disparity boomers
Store manager Erica Bond (L) rings up a drink order for Valerie Fogo of Nevada at Sambalatte in Boca Park Fashion Village as some businesses that were closed seven weeks ago to fight the spread of the coronavirus are allowed to reopen on May 9, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. ETHAN MILLER / Staff/Getty Images

Big Tech billionaires have led the charge to the top of the world's richest lists, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose fortune during the COVID-19 pandemic alone has grown 64 percent in 2020. Bezos is now worth $188.5 billion, making more than $5 billion on Wednesday alone.

In addition to the vast generational wealth disparities in the Fed report, large racial gaps persist across the U.S. as well. White Americans control 84 percent of the country's wealth, compared to 4.1 percent held by Black Americans.

Newsweek reached out to the Federal Reserve for any additional remarks Thursday.