The Cheapest Generation: Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Cars or Houses?

What if Millennials’ aversion to car-buying isn’t a temporary side effect of the recession, but part of a permanent generational shift in tastes and spending habits? It’s a question that applies not only to cars, but to several other traditional categories of big spending—most notably, housing. And its answer has large implications for the future shape of the economy—and for the speed of recovery.

Read more. [Image: Kagan McLeod]

It’s safe to say that a decent number of Tumblr users are a part of the Millennial generation. So, tell us: Do you own a car or house? If not, why?

IT’S BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO DISPOSABLE INCOME YOU THUNDERING IDIOTS. Fucking preference has nothing to do with it. 50% of college graduates have no job! They all have the most student loan debt ever! What are you asking this question for?!

Also: housing is a good bit more expensive now.

My parents got a 15-year mortgage on a new house in the mid-70s. The house was $32,000. Average home price in that area now? $190,000.

So, home prices went up. Food prices went up. Health care prices went WAY UP. Rent prices went up. Higher education went up so damn high that some of us forgo that all together. Energy prices went up. Car prices went up.

Prices of prices went up.

We also pay cell phone bills, internet bills, data plans, text plans, online subscriptions, cable/satellite tv, netflix, DVR subscriptions — bills that didn’t even exist 30-40 years ago. We also use computers and smartphones and microwaves and other consumer electronics that didn’t exist 20-50 years ago.

We need medications and doctors and contact lenses and tampons and maxi pads and other things that cost money just to be alive and keep us healthy.

Most of us can’t afford to:

  1. Get married and have a “Traditional” big wedding
  2. Buy a house
  3. Buy a new car
  4. PLAN to have children
  5. Take two, consecutive weeks of vacation.

Jobs that paid 50k in the late 1990s now pay between 30-35. Interest rates that favor consumers have gone down.

So I say, no. We are not choosing not to buy homes. We’re not choosing to take the bus in cities where there’s no good public transit. WE ARE NOT CHOOSING TO LIVE WHAT SOCIETY DEEMS AS AN UNDESIRABLE LIFESTYLE.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that these two people in the picture are young white hipsters. Young black and brown folks have been forgoing homeownership and buying new cars for decades, this shit isn’t new, pal. You’re just acting like this shit is new because it’s hitting white folks.

anyway, my point is: We are fucking broke.

I am the only person in my friend group who is even considering buying a house, and that only because my partner (who is older than me) has the proceeds from selling his last house we can use to buy a new one.


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