How the Economy Affected Young Adults in 2023

Jan 10, 2024 | Anxiety, Helping a Loved One, Mental Health, Overwhelmed

As we begin 2024, the global landscape is marked by economic uncertainties and challenges that cast a long shadow over the usual aspirations of young adults. From soaring inflation to the impacts of a post-pandemic world, the hurdles facing the younger generation are daunting. Understandably, this is impacting every area of their lives and making survival seem borderline impossible. In this blog, we’ll explore how the current state of the economy is making life harder for young adults to live on their own and follow the traditional pattern of adulthood.

The Rising Cost of Living

Arguably, the most pressing issue for young adults right now is the relentless rise in the cost of living. Inflation has reached levels that make it increasingly difficult for people starting their careers to make ends meet. From housing to groceries, the prices of essential goods and services have surged, putting a strain on the limited budgets of young adults.

This situation has forced many to reconsider their financial priorities and delay the larger life milestones, like buying a home or starting a family. While many are finding themselves returning to the family home after attempting to live on their own, there are also plenty who have never been able to leave the family home at all. Though there are advantages to remaining at home for longer periods, it can be challenging mentally as it is considered an important step in growing up.

Student Loan Debt Crisis

The burden of student loan debt continues to haunt young adults, with no end in sight. With the cost of education soaring and job markets becoming more competitive, many graduates find themselves struggling with massive debt loads as they enter the workforce. This debt not only affects their immediate financial situation but also hinders their ability to invest in their future. With a recent change of events, in which President Biden’s debt relief plan was overturned by the Supreme Court, young adults are facing a hefty amount of debt with staggering interest rates. During the pandemic, interest rates were paused, which was beneficial for many. Now, the looming payments are pushing many over the edge.

Job Market Challenges

The aftermath of the COVID pandemic has led to some major changes in the way businesses operate, with automation and digital transformation becoming more prominent than ever before. Young adults are facing the challenge of acquiring the right skills to stay relevant in a constantly changing job market. Plus, job insecurity has risen, with contract positions and gig economy work becoming more prevalent, leaving many young professionals without the stability and benefits traditionally associated with full-time employment. 

Mental Health Struggles

The stress of financial instability, paired with the pressure to succeed in a competitive job market, contributes to rising levels of anxiety and depression among young adults. The constant juggling of multiple responsibilities, like work, education, and personal life, often leads to burnout and stress. Currently, 48% of young adults report feeling depressed, anxious, or both. Though there are other factors at play here, the sheer number of young people suffering mentally is concerning.

Housing Affordability Crisis

The dream of homeownership is becoming increasingly elusive for young adults. Skyrocketing housing prices, coupled with stricter lending practices, make it challenging for individuals to secure mortgages and enter the housing market. As a result, many young adults are forced into the rental market, where prices are also surging. The lack of affordable housing options not only affects financial stability but also delays the achievement of key life milestones for young adults.

Many adults find themselves living with their parents in an attempt to save up for a home or to simply survive. Fifty-three percent of adults aged 18-24 live with their parents, and we are likely to see that statistic continue to climb if the economy remains in its current state.

Global Economic Uncertainties

The interconnectedness of the global economy means that young adults are not only dealing with challenges in their local area but are also influenced by global economic uncertainties. Factors like geopolitical tensions, conflicts, and the impacts of climate change can have huge consequences on job markets, prices, and economic stability. Young adults find themselves faced with an unpredictable landscape, making it challenging to plan for their financial future with confidence. Understandably, this can lead to fear and worry.

Final Thoughts

From the rising cost of living to the burden of student loan debt and the evolving job market, surviving as a young adult has become more difficult for many. This has an impact on every aspect of their lives, from physical and mental health to their living situation and career choices. Remaining optimistic and working towards future goals is the best way to move forward in such uncertain times. 

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you are struggling with excessive worry, anxiety, or depression, New Dimensions can help.  We provide treatment to address mental health and substance abuse issues.  To learn more about our treatment programs, visit our website at or contact us at 800-685-9796.


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