Le sigh. It would be just my luck that the same week I re-launch this blog as Mrs. Millennial, somebody goes and spouts off a bunch of nonsense about millennials to the press again. I thought we were past this, y’all. I really did.
But apparently not, so let’s discuss the damn avocado toast article.
If you’ve been hiding under a rock this week, the outrage was created when an Australian real-estate tycoon said that the reason millennials can’t buy houses is because they’re spending all their money on “smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each.” Now, before I even get to the meat of the issue here, let me just address a few particularly ridiculous points:
- I just checked my weekly grocery circular. They’ve got a loaf of bakery bread for about $3 and an organic Haas avocado goes for $1.49. That’s under $5. Even if the guy meant that millennials are all out at restaurants brunching, I looked up avocado toasts at one of Austin’s swankiest brunch places, and it was only $10. If you’re paying $19 for avocado toast? Yeah, that’s pretty dumb.
- The dude got his start via a $34,000 loan from his grandfather. You know what $34,000 is enough to do in most places in America? Put a down payment on a house.
- As a friend of mine pointed out on Facebook, this is really just another version of the “prosperity gospel” rearing its ugly head. Poor people don’t *deserve* nice things like avocados, according to prosperity gospel devotees.
But the bigger problem with the avocado toast article? What if I told you THE ENTIRE PREMISE IS FALSE?
- A lot of millennials DO own homes. (Source.) The last year of reliable, academic, peer-reviewed research on the matter is from 2015. In 2015, 35% of millennials owned a home. (Comparatively, 58.5% of Gen Xers owned a home. That’s only a 13.5% difference.)
- The ones who don’t own homes are too young. The millennial age groups spans those born from 1981 – 1997. In 2015, they were between 18 and 34 years old. The average age of a first-time home buyer hasn’t changed much since the 70s: it’s age 30. (Source.) Only 25% of millennials had reached that age by 2015. Meaning, if you looked at the trend just among those older than the average first time home buyer, the rate of millennial home ownership is actually BETTER than Gen Xers.
- Rate of home ownership among millennials is growing rapidly. More recent research— though not as thorough as the Harvard study—shows that in the last two years, the rate of millennial home ownership has jumped to 53% in 2017. (Source.) If confirmed, that’s a jump of 18% in just two years. Additional strong growth is expected among millennials over the years to come, as well.
So, ya know. Before we go full avocado-pocalypse around here, maybe let’s just check the facts. #MillennialProud #MillennialStrong