Between 2001 and 2010, the median wealth for Generation X dropped 44 percent from $95,100 to $42,100.
You can’t make this stuff up, friends. It also seems worth noting that between 2001 and 2010, inflation increased more than 23 percent. The financial news for my generation is grim. (It’s not much better for younger Baby Boomers.) Things are compounded by the fact that about 70 percent of children under 18 live in households headed by Gen Xers.
From the New York Times: “A hypothetical family richer than half the nation’s families and poorer than the other half had a net worth of $77,300 in 2010, compared with $126,400 in 2007, the Fed said. The crash of housing prices directly accounted for three-quarters of the loss.”
Last Rites for the Middle Class
Alan Grayson of Salisbury News summarizes it like this: “And the poor get poorer.” He says if this continues we can call a priest to administer last rites to the middle class. And, Maria Panaritis, one of the only members of the nation’s press corps to continually sound the Gen X drum, characterizes the situation as Generation X getting scorched.
Some more bad news about Gen X net worth
- Median wealth of American families in 2007 was $126,400.
- It dropped nearly 40 percent by 2010, to $77,300.
- Americans with no high school diploma experienced a 54 percent drop in income from 2007 to 2010, from $34,800 to $16,100.
- Median wealth among minorities dropped from $29,700 to $20,400.
- White median wealth is currently 540 percent higher than minority median wealth.
- 12 percent of American families are completely broke and have no net worth.
- The median value of an American home in 2007 was about $210,000.
- In 2010, the median home value was $170,000.
- In 2007, the top 10 percent of Americans had a net worth of $955,600 or more. During the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, this number had decreased by only 1 percent ($952,500 in 2010).
Goodness Gracious Lyrics
Chances are, you haven’t heard of Kevin Gilbert, and if you have, you’ve forgotten all about him. He was a Gen Xer who was born in 1966 and who died in 1996, before he even turned 30. He was a songwriter and musician who once dated Sheryl Crow, and whose first solo album, Thud, was released in 1995.
On that album is a song called Goodness Gracious. Looking back, these lyrics could have served as a clarion call, but they didn’t. Instead, they’ve lived in virtual obscurity. Here is Kevin’s prophecy, which was an acute understanding of the present that escaped most of us. This is also his indictment on older generations.
Goodness gracious, is there nothing left to say?
When the ones that get to keep looking are the ones that look away
It’s pabulum for the sleepers in the cult of brighter days
Goodness gracious, at the mercy of the crooks
We’re broke and stroking vegetables and there’s way too many cooks
In every pot a pink slip, in every mouth a hook
Goodness gracious, i’m not listening anymore
‘Cause the spooks are in the white house and they’ve justified a war
So wake me when they notify we’re gonna fight some more
Goodness gracious, not many people care
Concern is getting scarcer, true compassion really rare
I can see it on our faces, i can feel it in the air
Goodness gracious me
Goodness gracious, my generation’s lost
They burned down all our bridges before we had a chance to cross
Is it the winter of our discontent or just an early frost?
Goodness gracious, of apathy i sing
The babyboomers had it all and wasted everything
Now recess is almost over and they won’t get off the swing
Goodness gracious, we came in at the end
No sex that isn’t dangerous, no money left to spend
We’re the cleanup crew for parties we were too young to attend
Goodness gracious me [repeat]
Goodness gracious my grandma used to say
The world’s a scary place now, things were different in her day
What horrors will be commonplace when my hair starts to grey?
I’d love to know what you think of these lyrics, Gen X net worth realities and the Federal Reserve’s report. By the way, the years for Generation X are 1961 to 1981.