Millenials Say Thanks But No Thanks to Cars and Houses

Every generation is different, but in America, there's one thing that is constant: our love of cars. Owning a car has been a celebrated rite of passage for Americans since, ... well, since the invention of cars.

Until today. It seems that the Millenials have broken that tradition (they also don't like to buy houses), and that shift in attitude can cause a huge shift in the economy.

Derek Thompson and Jordan Weissmann of The Atlantic explains:

... Millennials have turned against both cars and houses in dramatic and historic fashion. Just as car sales have plummeted among their age cohort, the share of young people getting their first mortgage between 2009 and 2011 is half what it was just 10 years ago, according to a Federal Reserve study.

Needless to say, the Great Recession is responsible for some of the decline. But it’s highly possible that a perfect storm of economic and demographic factors—from high gas prices, to re-­urbanization, to stagnating wages, to new technologies enabling a different kind of consumption—has fundamentally changed the game for Millennials. The largest generation in American history might never spend as lavishly as its parents did—nor on the same things. Since the end of World War II, new cars and suburban houses have powered the world’s largest economy and propelled our most impressive recoveries. Millennials may have lost interest in both.


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I must admit I got a car as soon as I had my license, but it was a hand-me-down worth about $300. I don't know anyone who gets a brand new car as soon as they are licensed. Did the article imply that some do?
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While I did not get a car as soon as I got my driver's license, I did buy a new car about a month after I graduated college and got my first job. My logic was to buy it and drive it until the wheels fell off; I came close. I drove it off the lot when it had about 63 miles on it. 10 years later and 153,000+ miles later, I stopped driving it because it was not financially worth my time to repair it; a year later, someone bought it off of me and spent 3 days getting it road worthy.

My current car is 12 years old with about 160,000 miles on it. I bought it new. And I plan to get this one replaced soon; I am not sure if the replacement will be new or used.

I find a car very important. In fact, both my wife and I have a car. If we lived in a city with other ways of getting to work and stores, we probably would not have cars.
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I didn't get my license as a teen because driving lessons are dang expensive here (a little over $900!) and I wasn't working and my parents didn't have the money.
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I agree. Real estate is increasingly unaffordable, especially in urban areas. So, in cities, where there are the highest concentration of jobs, people often are working but cannot afford many luxuries. And a car is a luxury in many major cities where it is simply more convenient and economical to take public transit, walk, or bike.
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