The median annual earnings of today’s young workers are similar to what earlier generations made at the same age. But underneath those figures, the disparity between young workers with and without bachelor’s degrees has grown.
That’s one main finding in a report released on Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. The report, “The Rising Cost of Not Going to College,” uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau along with a new survey to capture the employment outcomes of young workers over the generations.
The report compares today’s young workers, the millennials, to Generation X, early and late baby boomers, and the so-called Silent Generation. It uses census data from 2013 for the millennials and looks at only those ages 25 to 32, to eliminate younger millennials who would probably still be in college.
The sample year, 2013, was four years into the recovery from the recession, so the researchers chose data years for the other generations that were also four years into an economic recovery. That’s not to say the broader economy was the same in each of those years, said Richard Fry, a senior economist at the research center and one of the report’s co-authors. But the method provided a way to choose the data years to compare. <Read more.>