The wealth gap between younger and older Americans is the widest its ever been, according to new census data by the Pew Research Center as reported by Associated Press.
Census data shows that the typical U.S. household headed by someone 65 years or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under the age of 35. In dollars, that gap amounts to a median net worth of $170,494 for older households, which is 42% more than in 1984 when the government first began measuring wealth broken down by age, compared to $3,662 for those under 35, which is down by 68% from 25 years ago.
People usually accumulate assets as they age, but this wealth gap is more than double of what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity of 25 years ago when adjusted for inflation.
Demographers attribute some of the shift to young people marrying later, coupled with an increase in the number of young single parents. The recession and housing bust have made things worse. The economic downturn with reduced job opportunities has left many young adults ensnared in housing and college debts.
Along with the growing wealth disparity between generations, the census also found an increase in wealth inequality within all age groups.