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Why young Australians will do it tougher than their parents

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Posted by Mozo

Only 22% of Australian young people think that their life experience will be better than their parents’ and, following the release of a report on the future of Australia’s under-24s, it appears their concerns are not unfounded.

According to data released in Renewing Australia’s Promise, a report compiled by the Foundation for Young Australians, Australia’s youngest generation are expected to take on three times more debt than their parents, and will spend an 80% higher share of their disposable income on mortgage interest.

Their employment is also less stable: 44% of Australians under 30 are currently in part-time work, a significant increase from 16% 30 years ago.

In addition, the report found that 30% of young people in the labour force are unemployed or underemployed.

Young Australians who went to university or completed another tertiary qualification will be left with $24,000 more student debt than their parents, who would have overwhelmingly attended university when tertiary education was free.

These increased costs will come alongside reduced government support, as Australia comes to terms with its ageing population.

There were two working-age people for every non-working-age person in 2012, but this ratio will drop to 1.5 by 2050.

Of course, there is a silver lining to this statistic: Australia’s under-24s will live for 4-5 years longer than their parents. They will also earn incomes around 6.8% higher than the previous generation.

But the Foundation for Young Australians CEO Jan Owen said the financial challenges facing Australia’s newest entrants to the labour force cannot be ignored.

“While today’s generation of young people are doing well in some areas, the report highlights several escalating challenges including high youth unemployment, an education system that may be falling behind, rising housing costs and increasing debt levels,” she said.

The Renewing Australia’s Promise report will be launched in Melbourne on Monday.

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