October 1, 2023 at 7:31 am

‘It takes 183 hours to pay the rent. There are 160 work hours in a month.’ Person Shows Why Gen Z Folks Have to Work Twice As Hard As Boomers To Survive

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/AITA/iStock

A lot of Gen Z folks are pretty fed up with the state of the world today, and who can really blame them?

It seems like owning a home and getting paid a decent wage at a decent job is out of the question for many of them, and they feel pretty burned by what’s going on right now.

And they’re also tired of hearing criticism from Boomers, obviously.

This is why one Gen Z’er took it upon themself to write a post on Reddit about how hard they think people of their generation need to work to get what the Boomers had.

Here’s what they had to say.

This generation must work twice as hard for what Boomers had. Here are the real numbers.

“In 1972, the minimum wage was $1.60, the average rent was $108, and a year of public college was $428.In 1992, minimum wage was $4.25, rent was $447, and college was $2349.In 2022, the minimum wage is $7.25, average rent $1,326, and public college $10,338 per year.

This is how many hours you would need to work a minimum wage job in order to afford housing and education:

Housing:1972: 68 hours, 1992: 105 hours, 2022: 183 hours

College:1972: 268 hours, 1992: 553 hours, 2022: 1426 hours

A Baby Boomer making minimum wage had to work about 68 hours to afford their rent for the month- That’s a bit over 1/3 of a full time income. A year of college cost just over a 268 hours’ wages- An 18 year old could literally pay for a year’s worth of college by working part time, 15 hours a week over the summer.

Doing the bare minimum and working 40 hours a week for minimum wage, you could afford your own apartment, basic needs, and a car. If you put in some effort and budgeted well, you could ALSO put yourself through school while supporting yourself working 30 hours a week.

For my generation, finishing HS in the early 90s, the average rent took 105 hours worth of wages, or 60% of our monthly earnings. College was also more expensive- 552 hours worth of minimum wage, which comes out to about 10 weeks. If you lived at home, you could work full time over the summer to pay for college.

That was a pretty comfortable pace, actually- doing school full time 9 months, and working full time for another 3. If you lived on your own, though, you probably couldn’t do college without a loan- But if you were willing to really bust ass doing work AND school both full time, get a couple roommates, and live off ramen and peanut butter for a couple years, you could do it.

Today, if you’re making minimum wage, it takes 183 hours to pay the average rent for the month. Reminder that this whole time we’ve been assuming 40 hour work weeks: 160 hours a month. I’m just going to stop right there for a second so we’re absolute clear about this:

To pay for an average 1-bedroom apartment, a Boomer making minimum wage had to pay 1/3 of their income, while a Gen Xer paid almost twice that, and Gen Z would need to put in their entire paycheck and would still come up short. Remember that these numbers are for three generations all working the same job for the same number of hours.

And going to college? At minimum wage, you will need to work 1,426 hours to pay for a year of public college. That’s 2/3 of a full time income.

If you work 30 hours a week, and do school full time, you can put yourself through school- But only if you can live at home for free, don’t need a car, and have parents who pay for your food and healthcare. It is simply impossible to do so on your own without taking out loans equal to your entire full time pay.

The bottom line is this: Working a full time minimum wage job, a Boomer could easily support themselves and put themselves through school.Gen X could still do this, but it took hard work and sacrifice. Gen Z, with that same hard work and sacrifice, can do one or the other, but not both.”

Here’s how people reacted to the post.

This person thinks the change over the last 11 years has been huge.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Another individual thinks this is why a lot of Gen Z people struggle with mental health issues.

Source: Reddit/AITA

And this Reddit user said they don’t know what it’s gonna take for some major change to occur.

Source: Reddit/AITA

These numbers are really sobering.

Things just seem to be getting tougher and tougher.