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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

It’s a longer, steeper path to a ‘good job’

It takes young people a lot longer than their elders to be self-supporting, concludes two new reports from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

Most millennials did not qualify for a “good job” — one paying at least $35,000 a year and a median wage of $57,000 — until their early 30s, the report concluded.  Baby boomers were economically independent in their mid-20s.

Among older working millennials, 80 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher had a good job at age 35, compared with 56 percent of those with some college or an associate’s degree, 42 percent of those with only a high school diploma, and 26 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Young people are delaying marriage, children and home ownership because of the slow path to good jobs, said Artem Gulish, the report author.

  1. Among households headed by young adults, the share that have educational debt has risen from 15% in 1989 to 43% in 2019. Within these households, the median loan debt has risen from nearly $8K to $26K over the same period.

  2. Black/African American women are most likely to take out student loans and hold the most student loan debt among major race/ethnicity and gender groups.

Even as more jobs require a college degree, the cost of postsecondary education has soared, the report notes. Most young workers don’t get high-quality on-the-job training. In addition, high schools don’t have enough counselors to provide “comprehensive counseling and career navigation services” to help students understand their choices.

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