The Guardian's US millennials feel more working class than any other generation covers data from the General Social Survey showing that the number of millennials (born 1980 to 2000) who consider themselves middle class has fallen from 45.6% in 2002 to 34.8% in 2014.
This is part of a broader trend of fewer Americans in general seeing themselves as middle class. In 2014 we reported on a Pew study showing only 44% of Americans consider themselves middle class, down from 53% in 2008. So it's not just millennials.
We cover the reasons for this shift in detail in our Economic Uncertainty section.
But the quick summary is stagnant wages, increasing costs for housing, healthcare and education and the hollowing out of middle wage jobs.
These factors are making people very nervous and even scared about the future. Key quote from the Guardian article from a millennial who's very nervous:
“I’m definitely scared, mostly because I’m paying so much for myself and for my student loans, so I can’t put that money into a nest egg,” she said. “How will I ever be able to put down money for a house? How will I be able to afford a wedding?”
This quote points out one other trend of note - weddings have become way too big a deal and way too expensive.
But I digress.
But since I'm digressing I'd like to point out that the General Social Survey is an excellent source of attitudinal trend data on Americans.
Run by the NORC project at the University of Chicago, it's been conducted every two years since 1972. We refer to it often and our managing partner even worked on the GSS at one point.
Back to economic uncertainty. We believe it's one of the most important trends impacting business and society.