Tuesday, January 18

This is the average net worth of each generation

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Oneself.

In 2021, average net worth In an American household headed by someone aged 64 to 75 it reached more than $ 1.2 million, while the average household headed by someone under 35 had a net worth of just $ 76,000.

With these massive generational wealth gaps, Self decided to delve into the historical distribution of wealth of different generations to understand whether the wealth gap has always been that large.

In the US, household wealth has traditionally experienced a relatively even distribution across different age groups. However, for the past 30 years, data from the US Federal Reserve shows that older generations have been accumulating wealth at a much higher rate than their younger cohorts. Here’s a closer look.

Defined Generations and Wealth

3 Generation African American Family
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These are the generations we analyzed for the study:

  • Silent generation (1928-1945): 6.33% of the population in 2021
  • Baby boomer (1946-1964): 21.44%
  • Generation X (1965-1980): 19.73%
  • Millennial (1981-1996): 21.95%

In 1998, the proportion of the US population under age 40 was 13.1% America’s total wealth. Today, those under 40 own only 6% of total wealth.

This means that millennials and Generation X own less than half the wealth that older generations owned when they were the same age.

In 2021, the vast majority of the country’s wealth (78.1%) belonged to the older generations, the baby boomers owned a whopping 52.2% of the country’s wealth, and the silent generation owned 15.2%.

Generation X (between 41 and 56 years old) owns 27.6% of the total wealth of the country, while millennials (between 25 and 40 years old) only own 5% of the total wealth of the country. Therefore, as a group, baby boomers are ten times richer than millennials.

Notably, regarding the distribution of millennials’ wealth, it was recently revealed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has an estimated net worth of $ 97 billion, owns his own. 2% of all millennial wealth.

Next, we will analyze the average wealth by generation historically. To get the most accurate picture possible, we have taken inflation rates into account. We looked at the average wealth that different generations had when they were in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Average wealth at age 30

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If we compare Gen X and millennials, we can see that millennials are 23.7% worse off than Gen X in terms of accumulated wealth around the same age.

By the time Generation X members were 30, they had an average wealth of $ 84,414 (inflation rates are taken into account), while millennials had an average wealth of $ 64,412.

The average baby boomer had a wealth of $ 132,960 in their 30s, more than twice the wealth of millennials the same age.

Year Generation Average wealth per person With inflation (until 2021)
1989 Baby boomers $ 58,698 $ 132,960
2005 Generation X $ 61,540 $ 84,414
2020 Millennials $ 63,523 $ 64,413

40 years old

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When baby boomers were 40 years old, they had an average wealth of $ 195,994. Generation X had accumulated wealth of $ 131,021 around the same age.

Year Generation Average wealth per person With inflation (until 2021)
nineteen ninety six Baby boomers $ 115,686 $ 195,994
2021 Generation X $ 131,021 $ 131,021

50 years old

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When the youngest of the silent generation reached 50 in 1996, their median wealth was $ 292,210. Using historical inflation rates, that number equates to wealth of $ 495,057 in present value.

Baby boomers had an average wealth of $ 629,683 in their 50s, equivalent to $ 704,158 in present value.

Worse still is Generation X who, on average, owned $ 396,293 when they turned 50. This is 43.73% less than what boomers had when they were the same age.

Year Generation Average wealth per person With inflation (until 2021)
nineteen ninety six Silent generation $ 292,210 $ 495,057
2014 Baby boomers $ 629,683 $ 704,158
2020 Generation X $ 396,293 $ 396,293

What does the future hold?

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Baby boomers are considered the richest generation in history, but what happens when this wealth is passed on to the younger generations?

A study of Coldwell banker It is estimated that millennials are expected to inherit more than $ 68 trillion from their predecessors by 2030, meaning that in less than 10 years they will have accumulated up to five times the wealth they currently possess.


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Population and wealth data for the silent generation, baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials are derived from the US Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve. At the time of the research, no corresponding data were available for Generation Z.

Inflation rates were calculated using SmartAsset inflation calculator.

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