Hold the eye roll and exasperation about millennials and their failure to launch or the gushing of financial resentment for a moment, and consider the unforgiving economics of trying to make it in this country today. Wages have stagnated, while real-estate, medical and child care costs have skyrocketed. As one economic analysis concluded recently: "For Americans under the age of 40, the 21st century has resembled one long recession."


More than half (53 percent) of Americans aged 21 to 37 have received some form of financial assistance from a parent, guardian or family member since turning 21, according to a 2018 report by Country Financial, a financial services firm in Bloomington, Ill. This may include paying bills for a cellphone (41 percent), groceries and gas (32 percent), rent (40 percent) or health insurance (32 percent).

Then there are the free services. Ms. Palmer, who is 39 and lives near Washington, D.C., said that the free 20 to 25 hours of child care she receives every month from her parents contributed to her family's decision to have a third child


On average, each millennial parent receives $11,011 per year in combined financial support and unpaid labor, the 2017 TD Ameritrade Millennial Parents Survey found, for an annual total of $253 billion in America.


Those who do not have parental assistance in their 30s, however, continue to be at a disadvantage. "They are grappling with paying off student-loan debt, their savings might not be as strong because of that, and many are taking care of other family members," said Iimay Ho, 32, the executive director at Resource Generation, an organization that works with people age 18 to 35 with wealth or class privilege to engage on issues of inequality.


Evidence suggests that purchasing a home, a life event that many hope to reach in their 30s and one of the primary ways people build wealth, is essentially out of reach in most major cities unless your family has generated a good deal of wealth. (Nationally, homeownership rates are falling for millennials, and only two in 10 have a mortgage or home loan.)

The "21st century as one long recession" comment is dead-on.

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