6 Ways The Economy is Affecting Young Adults

by | Jun 5, 2024 | Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health, Overwhelmed, Well-being | 0 comments

As we progress through 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 impacts every area of their lives and sometimes makes survival impossible. In this blog, we’ll explore how the current state of the economy is making life harder for young adults to live independently and follow the traditional pattern of adulthood.

1. The Rising Cost of Living

Arguably, the most pressing issue for young adults 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, straining young adults’ limited budgets.

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 find themselves returning to their parents’ homes after attempting to live independently, plenty have never been able to leave the family home. Though there are advantages to remaining at home longer, it can be challenging mentally as it is considered an important step in growing up.

2. 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 struggle with massive debt loads as they enter the workforce. This debt affects their immediate financial situation and hinders their ability to invest in their future.

  • Long-Term Repayments: Graduates often face years, if not decades, of loan repayments, which can prevent them from achieving financial independence.
  • Delayed Financial Goals: The weight of this debt can delay other financial goals, such as purchasing a home, saving for retirement, or even starting a family.
  • Mental Health Impact: Additionally, the mental strain associated with carrying significant debt can contribute to anxiety and depression, exacerbating the overall impact on young adults’ lives.
3. Job Market Challenges

The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in how businesses operate, with automation and digital transformation becoming more prominent. Young adults are challenged to acquire the right skills to stay relevant in a constantly changing job market.

  • Increased Job Insecurity: Job insecurity has risen, with contract positions and gig economy work becoming more prevalent. This leaves many young professionals without the stability and benefits traditionally associated with full-time employment.
  • Need for Continuous Upskilling: The competitive nature of the job market means that young adults must continually upskill and adapt to new technologies and methodologies. This constant need for adaptation can be stressful and may lead to job dissatisfaction and burnout.
  • Planning for the Future: Furthermore, the lack of stable employment opportunities can make it difficult for young adults to prepare for the future, contributing to feelings of uncertainty and instability.
4. 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. Constantly juggling multiple responsibilities, like work, education, and personal life, often leads to burnout and stress.

  • Rising mental health issues: Currently, 48% of young adults report feeling depressed, anxious, or both. Though there are other factors at play, the sheer number of young people suffering mentally is concerning.
  • Stigma and access to care: The mental health struggles faced by young adults are compounded by the stigma associated with seeking help. Many individuals may hesitate to reach out for support due to fear of judgment or a lack of access to affordable mental health services. This can lead to untreated mental health issues, further affecting their ability to cope with economic challenges. issues, further affecting their ability to cope with economic challenges.
5. 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.

  • Rental market pressures: Many young adults are forced into the rental market, where prices are also surging. The lack of affordable housing options affects financial stability and delays the achievement of key life milestones for young adults.
  • Living with parents: Many adults live with their parents to save for a home or survive. 52% of adults aged 18-24 live with their parents, and that statistic is likely to continue climbing if the economy remains in its current state.
  • Economic mobility: The inability to secure affordable housing can increase stress and a sense of failure as young adults struggle to achieve independence. Additionally, the high cost of renting can prevent individuals from saving for future investments, such as education or starting a business, further limiting their economic mobility.
6. 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 face an unpredictable landscape, making it challenging to plan for their financial future confidently. Understandably, this can lead to fear and worry.

Global economic uncertainties can create a volatile environment, making it difficult for young adults to feel secure in their career and financial decisions. The unpredictability of international markets and political events can impact job availability, wages, and the overall cost of living, further complicating their path to financial independence.

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 impacts 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 uncertain times.

We Can Help!

If you are struggling with excessive worry, anxiety, depression, or racing thoughts, we can help.  

MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home.  If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help.  To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.