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Millennials blame boomers for ruining their lives

Data: SurveyMonkey poll conducted April 9–13, 2018. Poll Methodology; Chart: Axios Visuals

Beset by big college loans, inheriting two wars, and facing an uncertain future of work, a majority of millennials say baby boomers have made things worse for them — and a lot of boomers agree, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

Why it matters: If it persists, the generational divide could turn into political rivalry as the generations compete for limited tax dollars — millennials seeking government help as automation takes hold, and boomers insisting on promised levels of Social Security and Medicare.

The poll found that 51% of millennials (18- to 34-year-olds) blame boomers (54- to 69-year-olds) for making things worse for their generation. Just 13% said boomers had improved things. Generation X wasn't pleased with the boomers, either.

Boomers were split on the issue: 30% said policies created by their generation had made things worse, 32% said they had made things better, and 34% that they had done neither.

Among suggested ways to improve matters now, millennials said:

  • "Remove all old government officials and term limits for the House and Congress," a 34-year-old male Republican said.
  • A number said "Impeach Trump" and "vote."
  • "Sleep more because you will be less sensitive to negative emotions," said a 22-year-old female Democrat.

In another generational divide, millennials are much less confident in their fiscal responsibility than their elders: 56% of millennials said they are "extremely" or "very" responsible in how they manage their money, compared with 80% of those 70 years old and more.

Methodology: This new Axios/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted April 9-13 among 4,638 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimate is 2 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. Crosstabs available here.

Go deeper: The coming conflict between millennials and boomers