Wealth and debt: How are millennials doing?

Release date: April 18, 2019
Wealth and debt: How are millennials doing?
Description: Wealth and debt: How are millennials doing?

Wealth and debt: How are millennials doing?

Are millennials better or worse off than Gen-Xers at the same age?

Millennials are now the largest generation of people in Canada. They're the most educated and diverse generation, but they face unique challenges.

Millennials had higher after-tax household incomes than young Gen-Xers.

Median after-tax household income between 25 and 34 years old for Young Gen-Xers in 1999 and Millennials in 2016
  Young Gen-Xers in 1999 Millennials in 2016
Median after-tax household income between 25 and 34 years old $51,000 $66,500

Millennials had higher assets and net worth than young Gen-Xers, but they also carried more debt.

Home ownership, living in Toronto or Vancouver, and having a higher education were three factors associated with higher net worth

Median assets, median debts and median net worth for Young Gen-Xers in 1999 and Millennials in 2016
  Young Gen-Xers in 1999 Millennials in 2016
Median assets $76,700 $154,000
Median debts $19,400 $35,400
Median net worth $42,800 $70,600

Though millennials are entering the housing market at similar rates as previous young generations, they are taking on larger mortgages.

Median mortgage debt on principal residence and After-tax income for those with principal residences for Young Gen-Xers between 30 and 34 years old in 1999 and Millennials between 30 and 34 years old in 2016
  Young Gen-Xers between 30 and 34 years old in 1999 Millennials between 30 and 34 years old in 2016
Median mortgage debt on principal residence $117,500 $218,000
After-tax income for those with principal residences $65,500 $83,200

Millennials are relatively more indebted.

Debt-to-after-tax income ratio for Young Gen-Xers in 1999 and Millennials in 2016
  Young Gen-Xers in 1999 Millennials in 2016
Debt-to-after-tax income ratio 125% 216%

Though their median net worth is higher, there are greater differences in economic well-being among millennials. Millennials in the top 10% held 55% of all total net worth accumulated by their generation.

Median net worth for the top and bottom 25% for Young Gen-Xers in 1999 and Millennials in 2016
  Young Gen-Xers in 1999 Millennials in 2016
Bottom 25% $6,200 $9,500
Top 25% $126,900 $253,900

Notes: Unless otherwise noted, millennials represent those between 25 and 34 years old in 2016, and young Gen-Xers indicate those between 25 and 34 years old in 1999.
Results are presented in 2016 current dollars and adjusted for inflation to allow for a comparison over time.
Statistics provided refer to the age and generation of the major income earner in the household or family.

Sources: Statistics Canada, Survey of Financial Security (1999 and 2016) and Canadian Income Survey (2016). Heisz, A. and Richards, E. 2019. Economic Well-being Across Generations of Young Canadians: Are Millennials Better or Worse Off? Economic Insights, no. 92. Statistics Canada. Catalogue no. 11-626-X. Ottawa : Statistics Canada.

Date modified: