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Report Reveals Concerning Trend of Decline in Well-Being Among Millennial Women Since The Silent Generation

A recent report has shed light on a concerning trend—millennial women are experiencing a decline in well-being, marking the first such decline since the Silent Generation. The report examines various aspects of women’s lives, revealing challenges in safety, health, education, and more.

Decline in Well-Being Data

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Data collected by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) has shown a decline in crucial markers of women’s well-being in recent years.

The report uses an index created by the PRB to assess women’s well-being, considering factors such as poverty, education, incarceration, political representation, physical and mental health, and labor force participation.

Comparison of Different Generations

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The index aims to compare the well-being of different generations of US women when they were around ages 25 to 34.

For example, the Silent Generation is the one born between 1928 and 1945 andlived through the Great Depression and World War II.

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Report Findings: Declining Well Being

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“While there have been some areas of generation-to-generation improvement, millennials are the first generation of women since the (so-called) Silent Generation, who are seeing declines in overall well-being based on our index,” said  Sara Srygley, one of the authors.

Healthcare Challenges

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Many women, especially those in rural communities like Tyler Azure, a 28-year-old mother in Montana, face challenges in accessing affordable, quality healthcare.

As a young Indigenous woman he feels that she is often overlooked and not taken seriously within the healthcare system.

Doctors Cycling In and Out

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Azure highlights the issue of doctors cycling in and out of town, making it difficult to establish lasting doctor-patient relationships.

“You can’t really build a relationship with doctors that are continuously cycling out,” she says.

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Education and Employment Stats

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Despite challenges in health and safety, millennial women have made progress in education and employment compared to previous generations.

Srygley suggests that “This isn’t a question of whether today’s young women are working hard enough or trying to improve their lives.”.

Challenges Despite Their Efforts

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She continued, “They’re obtaining higher education. They’re entering more competitive fields such as STEM fields and business ownership. They’re doing the things that they’ve really been raised to believe will lead to a better life. Despite their best efforts, these are very real challenges.”

Disparities for Women of Color

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The report highlights that young women of color face even greater challenges, with disparities in various aspects of well-being.

Dr. Jamelia Harris, senior director of research at the Justice and Joy National Collaborative pointed out, “What really stood out was that there was even less progress among young people of color. This was probably the least surprising aspect of the report.”

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Historical Progress

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The report notes that progress in health, safety, education, and employment was evident from the Silent Generation to baby boomer women.

However, progress started to stall during Generation X and is now actively declining for millennials, according to the report.

“In this updated report, we saw that it’s no longer stalled, but it’s now actively in decline” for millennials, Srygley said.

Disturbing Trends

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The disparities in health and well-being are even greater for women of color, the data indicated.

For example, Black maternal mortality is more than twice the US national average, and Black and Hispanic students were less likely to receive subsidies for college than their White peers of similar economic status, according to the report.

Policy Impacts

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The report suggests that social and political structures may play a role in the decline of millennial women’s well-being, citing factors such as the gender pay gap, access to lethal means, and reproductive health care protections.

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Progress in Gender Pay Gap Has Stalled

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The report also highlighted that “Progress in closing the gender pay gap has stagnated”, as per Syrgley. “An increase in access to lethal means may have an impact on suicide rates, although those rates don’t tend to change dramatically from one generation to the next” she added.

Strain on Mental Health

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Martha Sanchez, director of health policy and advocacy of Young Invincibles, an organization that advocates for the education, health care and employment of young Americans, said, “Young women are seeing a tremendous amount of pressure and the barriers — because they are literally legal barriers — really prevent us from just taking care of ourselves.”

“Everything from the lack of reproductive access and care, the lack of affordable health care and in some states, the outright bans on, for example, abortion or highly restricted abortion — it’s all really affecting our mental health on top of what the nation has experienced in terms of the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she added.

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