The millennial generation (those born between 1980 and the mid-2000s) face more economic challenges than parents even 10 or 20 years ago, according to an April 2015 research study released by the research firm Young Invincibles. The report, titled “Finding Time: Millennial Parents, Poverty, and Rising Costs,” revealed several key findings describing the financial challenges Millennial parents face.

The report found the following facts about Millennials:

  • Twenty percent of Millennial parents live in poverty, the highest amount in more than 25 years.
  • Young parents are twice as likely to work midnight shifts as non-parents of the same age.
  • Thirty percent of Millennials have children.
  • Millennial parents tend to have 25 percent more debt than their non-parent contemporaries.
  • Childcare and education costs represent 18 percent of the total cost of raising a child born in 2013 compared to 2 percent of the total cost of raising a child in 1960.

Putting the numbers together

According to a report from the Council of Economic Advisers, as of 2013, Millennials made up one-third of the total United States population, were more educated than previous generations, yet often struggled to find jobs to make ends meet. Millennials valued activities and actions that enhanced quality of life—they focused on family, friends, and enjoyed making a positive impact on their communities.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, parents will spend an average of $245,340 for a child born in 2013. This number varies based on the family’s income, among other things. A middle-income family will spend the greatest amount of money on housing (30 percent), followed by childcare and education (18 percent), and food (16 percent).

The report from Young Invincibles offered some solutions for Millennials struggling to “have it all”: the job, the family, and financial security. Crucial to the success of today’s young families is the cost of childcare. Convincing college campuses to offer low-cost childcare is one way to keep students in school after starting a family. Requiring companies to offer paid maternity and paternity leave is another way to bolster the economic success of Millennials by supporting them in their efforts to be effective and productive working parents.


  • One in five members of the Millennial generation with children live in poverty—the highest number in 25 years.
  • Millennial parents have more debt than non-parents, often due to repayment of student loans, difficulty securing a job, and paying for childcare.
  • A key to the economic success of young families is affordable childcare.

Last reviewed by Eva Benmeleh, PhD. Review Date: September 2020


  1. The Council of Economic Advisers. 15 Economic Facts About Millennials.
  2. Pew Research. 5 Facts About Today’s Fathers.
  3. Pew Research. For Most Highly Educated Women, Motherhood Doesn’t Start Until the 30’s.
  4. USA TODAY. Millennial Moms Put Their Unique Imprint on Parenting.
  5. USDA: Parents Projected to Spend $245,340 to Raise a Child Born in 2013, According to USDA Report.
  6. S. News & World Report. Juggling College, Child Care Leaves Millennials Impoverished.
  7. Washington Post. Why Parenting Is Even More Daunting for Millennials Than It Was For Their Parents – Or Their Grandparents.
  8. Young Invicibles. Finding Time: Millennial Parents, Poverty, and Rising Costs.
  9. Young Invincibles. New Report Looks at Unprecedented Challenges Facing Millennial Parents.


  1. It is crazy to think that this generation is more educated than previous generations, but will struggle more financially. I feel that the cost of everything has gone up (childcare, housing, education, etc).. It can often make it difficult to feel “stable” when money is constantly being put out. I also think that we sometimes want it all. By that I mean we want the big house, the nice car, the awesome family vacations, and for our kids to be involved it every extracurricular activity possible (which is expensive). Sometimes it is good to take a step back and try not to get caught up in having “the best” of everything.


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