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1 in 5 Millennial Parents Is In Poverty, Study Finds

The Short of It

Millennials are struggling with money as they're raising their kids. A new report says more than 1 in 5 young parents is in poverty. That's a nearly 40 percent increase since 2000.

The Lowdown

The report, Finding Time: Millennial Parents, Poverty, and Rising Costs, which was released Wednesday by the organization Young Invincibles, says a few of the biggest reasons for the economic struggles in young parents are student loan debt, falling wages and a huge surge in education and childcare costs.

Here's a way to put things in perspective: On average, 18- to 34-year-olds make $2,000 less per year than people in that age range did in 1980, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Shocking, right?) Yet, more are educated. (Read: Have student loan debt.) And the cost of childcare is staggering. In some places, it's more expensive than housing. Some parents even are choosing not to work because childcare is simply too expensive.

"They're being expected to do more with less," Konrad Mugglestone, the author of the report, told the Washington Post. It's no wonder some millennials are actually putting off parenthood and/or marriage until later.

The Upshot

I'm not technically a millennial—I'm, ahem, a couple years older—but I see this happening among my parent friends. Many are taking on freelance work and doing it after the kids go to bed, shopping at sale racks and consignment stores, and still paying off student loans they thought they'd have been done with years ago.

Even parents who are educated and have good jobs are trying to find ways to make ends meet and wondering how to (gulp) save up for their kids' college educations.

"We know that the Great Recession ravaged many millennials, but few have felt the strain more than today's young parents," said Mugglestone said in a release. "Failing to address the problems plaguing millennial parents could have significant financial and social costs, not only for this generation, but for the next."

The report suggests several ways to improve things for young parents, including expanding and improving on-campus childcare, adopting paid family and sick leave policies, offering paid sick days in more areas and mandating companies offer more flexibility and advanced notice of work scheduling.

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