What’s Happening in the News: May 11, 2020

Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

In this week’s link roundup, we take a look at the impact the Covid-19 outbreak is having on millennials from several different angles. We hope our readers are coping and recovering, and finding help if you need it.

Economic Impact

Week after week, we’ve been reading that millennials are particularly suffering from the economic consequences of the pandemic. That’s due to a lot of different factors. For a collection of visuals to help sort out all the data, check out Why the Covid-19 economy is particularly devastating to millennials, in 14 charts. From the industries that have taken the hardest economic hits to which age groups and ethnicities have the highest rates of infection, this article takes a very broad look at why young people, who were already struggling, are looking at a long, slow recovery from the current crisis (if they recover at all). Of interest to us is the chart below, showing how home buying among younger generations has declined in the past decade. It’s significant because owning a home provides a degree of financial stability that many millennials don’t have.

A line graph spanning 1981 to 2019, showing the median age of US homebuyers. From ’81 to ’91, the age went up only slightly, before spiking. This was followed by a rapid decline in the mid-90s (with the median age falling to 34 in ’97). Slight increases with plateaus were seen until 2009, when the median age spiked to 46. The following decade saw a few flat years, until 2016, after which the graph increases steadily from ’17 to ’19, to a median age of 47.

Mental Health Impact

Even more sobering than the economic impact of the pandemic on young people is the mental health impact, according to Business Insider. Loneliness and anxiety topped the list of mental health problems among millennials even before they were forced into self-isolation. And experts predict that the consequences of the coronavirus situation will be lifelong for many. Towards the end of the article are several links to seek help if the stress is getting to be too much for you.

However, the article also quotes marriage and family therapist Paul Hokemeyer as saying in an interview, “Nearly every millennial I work with has placed this crisis in the realm of a ‘universal recalibration,’ a ‘right-sizing of humanity,’ or ‘a wake-up call from Mother Nature.'” He goes on to say, “They demonstrate extraordinary grit which is the ability to rise above the short-term pain of the situation and embrace the greater good that can come from it.”

Impact on Homebuying

A craving for stability in the midst of all the craziness combined with historically low interest rates is likely to mean an uptick in the number of millennials looking to buy, though. Kristin Messerli (who was living as a digital nomad when the pandemic hit) asks: Could COVID-19 become a driving force of Millennial homeownership?

Impact on Personal Habits

And speaking of changing trends, China’s young spenders say #ditchyourstuff as economy sputters, reports Reuters, citing a survey showing that “between 20% and 30% of respondents in China said they would continue to be cautious, either consuming slightly less or, in a few cases, a lot less.” Quarantine has definitely been a good opportunity to learn what we really can and can’t live without, plus giving a lot of us some extra time to do some overdue decluttering (my basement has benefitted–hope yours has too!). It’ll be interesting to see if the movement toward minimalism grows faster now that we’ve all had to spend some time in close quarters with all our stuff.

Personal Impact

If you’re a millennial (or not…) and reading this, we’d love to hear from you. In what area have you felt the most immediately impacted? Will that be the area with the most long-term effects? Do you feel like things are getting back to “normal”? Weigh in, stay well, and we’ll see you next week!

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