A Stuck at Home Epidemic and Undistributed Prosperity is Making us Lonely & Unhappy
What is going on:
More young people remain living in the family home into their late 20s and early 30s, and the proportion of young people living solo has also increased, census data shows.
In the U.S, the share of one-person households has more than tripled from 1940 to 2020
With Australian's spending an average of 30% of their income rent, and combined with the rising costs of living and slow wage growth, it's not surprising to see more people saying at home - It's simply cheaper to chill at home online.
Young adults are especially affected. With surveys undertaken since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing that just over half (54%) of respondents reported that they felt more lonely since the start of the pandemic. Specifically, the survey found the largest proportion of people who had experienced the highest levels of loneliness 'most of the time' and 'occasionally' during the past week were 18–24 year old's.
What it means:
The phrase "God's own country" was often used to describe Australia in the early 1900s, but it appears to have gradually fallen out of favour.
Nearly 100 years ago scarcity, economic depression, and a peak unemployment level of 32% meant that hundreds of thousands of Australians were out of work. Families with not enough to eat saw suicide rates increase dramatically.
Food insecurity, child poverty, government assistance and security have created an Australia that is a long way from the 1900's. And that is a great thing.
But wealth inequality is impacting economic security, particularly for younger people.
Low and middle income earners are now seeing virtually nothing from the nation’s real per adult economic growth, while the wealthiest reap almost all the benefits. The wealth inequality pandemic report confirms that even though Australians are now, on average, the fourth richest people in the world, the distribution of our wealth remains hugely unequal.
90% of Australians receive just 7% of economic growth per person since 2009, while the top 10% of income earners reap 93% of the benefits. Rising house prices increase the divide between people who bought their homes when they were more affordable, and younger people and those on low and modest incomes who are shut out of home ownership or struggle with escalating rents and mortgage payments.
Young adults are not prosperous, because wealth distributed unevenly is making us less happy.