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HomeEconomyThis week’s cover | Apr 20th 2024 Edition

This week’s cover | Apr 20th 2024 Edition

People who fret about the young are often convinced of two things. First, that they will grow up to be worse off than their parents. Second, that having spent their formative years glued to social media, they will be sadder and more anxious than their elders. Our cover story this week examines these ideas and reaches different conclusions.

Although it is true that in rich countries members of “Generation Z” (those born between 1997 and 2012) are more likely to describe themselves as anxious, there is not enough evidence to blame this on smartphones. (Indeed, some of the apparent rise may reflect a greater willingness to talk openly about mental health.) And when it comes to material prosperity, the picture is rosier than people think. Gen Z are making comfortably more money than earlier generations did at the same age.

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