The Financial Future For Generation X

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The Financial Future For Generation X - Quiz


Generation X—those born between 1965 and 1980 who are in their 30s and 40s today—doesn't get the same attention in the media as do the younger millennials or the retiring baby boomers. But its place in the economic landscape can't be ignored; it provides insight into the experiences of American families during the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

New research by Pew’s financial security and mobility project looks at the income (how much a person earns) and wealth (the value of all that a person has accumulated) of the members of Generation X, as compared with those of Read moretheir parents at the same age, to get a clear picture of the financial realities facing Gen X and to understand what it means for Americans of all ages.

Test your knowledge about Gen X’s financial situation and see how much you really know about the millions who grew up with Reaganomics, Cabbage Patch Kids, and the birth of MTV.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    True or false: Most Gen Xers have higher family income than their own parents did at the same age.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    Seventy-five percent of Gen Xers have higher family incomes than their own parents did at the same age.

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  • 2. 

    What percentage of Gen Xers have higher family wealth than their own parents did?

    • A.

      8%

    • B.

      36%

    • C.

      75%

    • D.

      93%

    Correct Answer
    B. 36%
    Explanation
    Although 75 percent of Gen Xers have exceeded their own parents’ income, just 36 percent have exceeded the family wealth their parents had at the same age. The typical Gen Xer holds a little more than $13,000 in wealth, not including home equity, but the typical parent of a Gen Xer had about $18,000 at the same age.

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  • 3. 

    Gen Xers’ debt totals are approximately how many times higher than their parents' were at the same age?

    • A.

      2

    • B.

      4

    • C.

      6

    • D.

      None; they're lower

    Correct Answer
    C. 6
    Explanation
    Gen Xers have nearly six times the debt that their parents had at the same age. Nearly all Gen Xers report holding student loan, medical, credit card, or other debt, with a median amount owed of more than $7,000. In contrast, their parents held just over $1,000 in debt at the same point in their lives.

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  • 4. 

    True or false: Gen Xers who exceed their parents’ family wealth are also more likely to exceed the wealth of their peers.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    Gen Xers who have more wealth than their parents did at the same age have more than three times that of the typical Gen Xer.

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  • 5. 

    What proportion of Gen Xers born at the bottom of the income ladder remain there as adults?

    • A.

      One-quarter

    • B.

      One-third

    • C.

      Half

    • D.

      Three-quarters

    Correct Answer
    C. Half
    Explanation
    Past Pew research has shown “stickiness” at the ends of the income distribution for all generations, meaning that those raised at either the top or the bottom of the ladder are likely to be there as adults, too. Half of Gen Xers raised on the bottom rung of the income ladder remain there as adults.

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  • 6. 

    True or false: Typical white Gen Xers have roughly $17,000 more in family income than do typical black Gen Xers.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    Typical white Gen Xers have about $17,000 more in family income and hold over four times the non-home-equity wealth and home equity of typical black Gen Xers.

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  • 7. 

    Are Gen Xers with college degrees more or less likely to surpass their parents’ wealth than are their non-college-educated peers?

    • A.

      More

    • B.

      Less

    • C.

      Gen Xers with college degrees and their parents have similar levels of wealth

    Correct Answer
    B. Less
    Explanation
    Although 82 percent of college-educated Gen Xers have higher income than their parents did, only 30 percent have greater wealth. In contrast, 70 percent of Gen Xers without four-year degrees have higher income than their parents did, but nearly half also have greater wealth. The difference between these groups may stem from the fact that college-educated Gen Xers are more likely to come from wealthier families overall (a higher bar to exceed) and hold much more debt (including student loans) than their non-college-educated peers do. 

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  • Mar 18, 2023
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