WASHINGTON - For some time, I've been writing about how the Great Recession and its tepid recovery have hit young adults hardest.
I'm not dismissing the distress of older age groups. Almost anyone who has lost a job in this harsh economy has faced a long, uncertain struggle to find a new one.
Americans on the edge of retirement have often reeled from large income and savings losses. It's rough for almost everyone.
But the young seem to have been hurt disproportionately. Getting a job isn't easy; for those who do, the pay may disappoint.
It's not surprising that Americans under 35 have suffered the largest income decline of any age group in the last decade, according to Census Bureau statistics.
From 2001 to 2011, their median household incomes fell 13 percent or $6,816. (The median is the exact halfway point in any distribution; figures are in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars.)
Other working-age groups did slightly better:
The drop for households 35 to 44 was 9 percent or $6,137.
The cut for households 45 to 64 was 11 percent or $7,426.
Interestingly, households 65 and over actually had higher incomes. Their median income rose 13 percent or $3,810 over the decade.
A new report from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center confirms this picture. More than other groups, the young have "deleveraged" - reduced old debt and not taken on new.
From 2007 to 2010, the debt of households younger than 35 fell 29 percent compared with a decline of only 8 percent for older (35-plus) households.