Skip to content

Generational and Age Household Wealth Trends and Wealth Inequality

Line chart displaying average realy wealth by generational age for boomers, GenX and millenials

SOURCES: Distributional Financial Accounts and Institute for Economic Equity calculations.

This figure shows average real family wealth of three different generations during their young- to mid-adult years. Values are centered on the median of the age range for the generation. For example, the median of the age range for millennials (born 1981-1996) in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 32 and Gen Xers (born 1965-1980) had a median age of 32 in the fourth quarter of 2004. While trailing Gen Xers for the beginning of their adult lives, millennials’ average family wealth has caught up over the past five years (as of the most recent data).

Bar chart showing average real wealth by age and generation, for Q4 2020 for millenials, GenXers, and boomers

SOURCES: Distributional Financial Accounts and Institute for Economic Equity calculations.

Millennials had slightly lower family wealth, on average, than Gen Xers did at the same age (32) and were below boomers at age 34, though their ages do not yet overlap in the data. In the fourth quarter of 2020, millennials’ average wealth was 11% below Gen Xers’ wealth at the same age (2004:Q4).

Line chart showing cumulitative changes in average real wealth by age groups

SOURCES: Distributional Financial Accounts and Institute for Economic Equity calculations.

NOTE: Vertical bars indicate recessions.

The first two figures underscore a generational wealth gap. This figure highlights increasing inequality across the life cycle. Today, older groups have more wealth than older groups did in the past, signaling a steeper life cycle of wealth on average.