So what’s fueling the rise? Primarily, young women are earning more, and more of them are working than their counterparts in other generations.
Last year, 78 percent of women in millennial households worked at least 50 weeks of the year versus 72 percent of Gen Xers in the same age range in 2000. And millennial women working full time for the whole year earned a median of $39,000 versus $37,100 in 2000. While that might not seem like much, it’s enough to give today’s millennial households a slight historical edge.
However, millennials’ higher income doesn’t necessarily mean a better standard of living, Fry noted. They may be making more money than ever, but that money isn’t going as far.
Indeed, millennials have less disposable income than their parents, according to a recent Federal Reserve study that uses different metrics. That’s because of expenses like student debt and higher home prices.
Other groups are seeing their inflation-adjusted total household incomes rise as well compared to their age group in other generations. Baby boomers took in income of $77,600 last year, surpassing a previous record of $75,800 for the 54- to 72-year-old category.
For Gen Xers, typical income was $85,800 per household, close to the 2000 peak of $86,200 for the same age group at that time. Pew noted that it couldn’t accurately estimate income levels for the Silent Generation, now age 73 to 90.