The Silent Epidemic Affecting Generation Z

There are at least three million caregivers under age twenty-five in America. The burdens they face are unprecedented. Their resolve is our only hope.

Of those family caregivers, more than three million are members of Gen Z: young people born between 1997 and 2012, many of whom have not yet or just barely crested into adulthood and whose lives have been knocked sideways by a family member’s illness or disability. As our country ages and our paid-care workforce dwindles, the number of family caregivers is expected to grow. Although most caregivers have a job, about a third are forced to cut back on work, and one in nine stops working altogether. That in itself can be catastrophic: A study by MetLife found that the average boomer who leaves the workforce early to care for a family member sacrifices around $300,000 in lifetime earnings and retirement benefits. Although there is no direct research on the financial impact to Gen Z caregivers, one can presume the effect on lifetime earnings, especially for a long-term caregiver, is even more severe.

Read more in Esquire.

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