By on April 22, 2019

For roughly the last decade, we’ve heard the motoring media bemoan Millennials as the generation that snubbed driving. Their inability to find and hold jobs that paid as well as their parents’ did at the same stages of life, combined with elevated costs of living and crippling student debt load, negatively impacted their purchasing power. Still, this generation might be just the tip of an iceberg the industry’s about to careen into.

As it turns out, Generation Z might even be less interested in cars. In addition to facing similar financial constraints as their older peers, most of them aren’t even bothering to get a driver’s license. 

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Gen Z is substantially less likely to procure the necessary motoring credentials once they’re eligible:

The percentage of teens with a driver’s license has tumbled in the last few decades and more young people are delaying purchasing their first car — if buying one at all, say analysts, generational experts and car industry executives. About a quarter of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license in 2017, a sharp decline from nearly half in 1983, according to an analysis of licensing data by transportation researcher Michael Sivak.

While we feel that the trend of placing broad behavioral labels on various generations is played out and often incorrect — don’t forget analysts had to invent the term “Xennial” to describe individuals bridging the gap between Generation X and Millennials, as they didn’t fit into either camp — following specific generational trends can be useful.

Generation Z, like those born before 1996, have already been accused of being far less like to engage in “adult activities” like driving, drinking, dating, or even having jobs compared to older groups at the same stage of life. Researchers at San Diego State University finalized a series of studies in 2017 that tabulated data from 8.3 million 13- to 19-year-olds between 1976 and 2016 about how they spent their time. Called The Decline in Adult Activities Among U.S. Adolescents, 1976-2016, the study tracks the perceived maturation of young adults since Gen X. The findings suggested that Generation Z has adopted “a slow life strategy.”

Ouch. We know they aren’t trying to make it sound like an insult but… that really sounds like an insult.

For car manufacturers, that means a smaller population interested in driving. While undoubtedly bad for sales, we suppose it could help encourage use of ride-hailing services and autonomous vehicles. But the first of these kids will likely reach adulthood at least a decade before those programs are ready for prime time.

While cost is undoubtedly a factor (the average transaction price for a new vehicle sits around $35,000), additional research claims the internet provides teens with all the escapism they need. Driving over to your friends house for a party is less necessary when everyone can communicate remotely. Helicopter parents who likely had fewer children than their own, and much later in life, are also less likely to go for that. The Wall Street Journal also notes that many public schools had abandoned driver’s education programs, forcing teens (or their parents) to pay out of pocket for training.

The outlet suggested that Generation Z is also more budget-conscious, due to its growing up amid the Great Recession. However, this reasoning feels flawed, as this element is no different for many or most Millennials or Xennials — who were hunting for their first jobs, finishing school, and coping with ludicrously high student loan payments during the financial crisis while much of Gen Z was still in diapers.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the cause of these trends with 100 percent accuracy, but their impact appears much easier to predict. J.D. Power estimates that Gen Zers will purchase about 120,000 fewer new vehicles this year compared to millennials in 2004, when that crowd was just getting into driving. That’s 488,198 vehicles versus 607,329 fifteen years ago. It looks as though Generation Z will be a lot like the Millennials, only more so.

[Image: Irina Papoyan/Shutterstock]

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81 Comments on “The Kids Aren’t Alright...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    Let’s give these kids a bit of time before we give up on them maybe? If the oldest were born in 1997, they would be graduating college this spring. It shouldn’t be any great shock that they aren’t buying new cars yet.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “It shouldn’t be any great shock that they aren’t buying new cars yet.”

      That’s only partially true because for many kids their parents give them their hand-me-downs, and then the parents buy new cars for themselves.

      That is also not happening to the extend of 20 years ago or 40 years ago since many kids today prefer ride-sharing and free-loading to having to drive themselves from point A to point B.

      Most kids today would prefer to sink their money into the latest and the greatest smart phone (arguably a much more useful device in life than a car that depreciates the moment you dive it off the lot.)

      • 0 avatar
        Zipster

        Your are hardly in a position to criticize this generation. It is because of people like you that they will have to contend with the consequences of huge government deficits brought on by tax cuts for your rich patrons. Climate change? As they will have to bear the full brunt of it, your kind (who follow their leader’s mantra that its a hoax) will be held in the highest contempt.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Each generation bears the brunt of previous generations’ failures. Each generation also enjoys the fruits of the previous generations’ successes.

          My generation (late boomers) may have had cans like civil rights, environmental issues, transitioning to a post-industrial economy, and the Cold War kicked down to us. We also got goodies like prosperity, computers, jet airplanes, antibiotics, and a host of other things.

          My hope is that our kids will have better tools from us to deal with the mess we left them, and I think they will.

        • 0 avatar
          2manycars

          No, it is because of the feckless young people themselves. Climate change? A natural phenomenon that young useful idiots have been hoodwinked into believing they can “do something about.” They might as well try to “do something about” the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Sheer idiocy.

          I refuse to lower my so-called “carbon footprint” and I hold you and your kind in the highest contempt possible, “d00d.”

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Climate change deniers, 2005: “It’s not happening.”

            Climate change deniers, 2010: “It may be happening but we didn’t cause it.”

            Climate change deniers, 2019: “Even if we did cause it we can’t do anything about it.”

            Well, at least the views are evolving. Next week, it’ll be “OK, it’s happening, and yeah, we caused it, but Jesus is gonna save us.”

            One wonders how much money got spent to hoodwink the people who think everyone else is being hoodwinked.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I dont think these trends should reflect on the people in their respective generations. People are a product of the times. Parents are probably more accepting of kids sticking around until they are 30, There is less entry level opportunity in general for jobs that turn in to careers. Priorities change. Costs do seem to have spiraled out of control in many aspects of life.

    I also think every older generation thinks the generation(s) that follow lack important traditional values, drive, ambition, respect, etc. So…more of the same.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Isn’t that true though about each successive generation? There’s a reason the greatest generation is called that, and to me it’s an insult to be called a millennial even though I technically am being born in ’86.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, yeah, the “greatest generation” did some kick-a** stuff, like surviving the depression and winning World War II, but the reality of the matter is that they got themselves into the depression due to economic stupidity, and ended it with World War II, which they almost literally had to be dragged into.

        They also failed to deal with racial inequality, started a cold war that could have ended with the end of human civilization, didn’t figure on foreign countries ever posing an economic threat to us, never got a handle on political corruption, and dropped the ball on any number of other problems that still plague us today.

        Each generation will have its’ share of successes and failures. All we’re focusing on is the failures of a generation that hasn’t had a chance to make its’ mark yet.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          They didn’t start the Cold War. Don’t blame the Greatest Generation for that.

          It wasn’t their fault they had to fight the Soviets and their evil ideology that openly preached world conquest.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Yes, the Cold War did begin on their watch. Some of that is the hand they got dealt; some of it was the hand they dealt themselves.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Millennials are nearly old enough to have a new generation of their own to bash.

    “In my day we made avocado toast the right way!”
    “We had to wait *10 days* for our vintage, reproduction turntable to arrive from Amazon.”
    “With only 10GB of HD space on our XBox, we had to make hard choices about what to keep saved. Now you have so much room, you can just keep whatever nonsense you want!”

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It’s a matter of priorities. Each generation has their own priorities.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      I call it “The Law of Conservation of Difficulty.”

      The amount of hardship in the world never changes, it just changes shape.

      Old-timers never had giant TVs, cheap realtime worldwide communications or opportunities to make millions as a self-published author or artist.

      However, they didn’t have militarized cops, worthless $100,000 bachelor’s degrees or crippling taxes to contend with either.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Actually taxes were far higher in the 1950’s and much of the 1960’s than they are now.

        From Wikipedia: “For the tax years 1944 through 1951, the highest marginal tax rate for individuals was 91%, increasing to 92% for 1952 and 1953, and reverting to 91% for tax years 1954 through 1963.”

        And for you small government, low tax advocates, the lowest unemployment rate (outside of WWII years) in American history was 2.7% in 1952.

        So the lowest unemployment rate coincided with the highest marginal tax rate.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “Actually taxes were far higher in the 1950’s and much of the 1960’s than they are now.”

          Yeah, but my dad brought home ~$150/week as a Master Electrician, and my mom brought home ~$80/week as a housekeeper at a Beverly Hills luxury hotel.

          Contrast that with the more than $100K my kids are making in annual salary, or with the more than $10K/month of our own retirement income, and the pain is a lot worse today than it was in my parent’s day.

          And that is notwithstanding the much lower value of the dollar today!

          Numbers are relative, but I do believe that taxes hurt more today because the dollar is worth so much less than in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    It’s hardly a news flash to tell me that teens of the current generation have different desires that teens of prior generations.

    My amusing endgame fantasy of this is 40 years from now, autonomous cars still aren’t ready and nobody has a driver’s license.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Xennials”

    Don’t you try to lump X into the mess you’ve made kids.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Have the millenials made the mess? How so?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Those damn phones are the greatest disinvention of the 21st century, you own it.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Millenials invented smartphones? Our societal ills can be traced to smartphones? You’re a proto-Boomer blaming the generation below you dude, not a good look.

          I bought a house at 26, married at 27, paid my wife’s medical school loans off and we’re expecting my first child imminently. Damn right I’ll “own” that.

          • 0 avatar
            nwfmike

            Good for you. own that. You obviously understand the term statistical outlier.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            I resist making blanket assumptions about Millenials, Gen-Xers, boomers, etc. Kudos for all you’re doing, gtem – very mature.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Our societal ills can be traced to smartphones”

            Many can, yes.

            “proto-Boomer”

            Not quite. Remember, we got screwed too.

            “I bought a house at 26, married at 27, paid my wife’s medical school loans off and we’re expecting my first child imminently.”

            My sincere congratulations and best wishes on your newborn.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            If we’re venturing off-topic, as far as Millennials are concerned, smartphones are a mere drop in the ocean compared to the damage the educational industrial complex (for lack of a better phrase) has caused.

          • 0 avatar
            S197GT

            i would never pay off another person’s student loans… or any loan for that matter. THEY need to own that.

            hope that works out for you.

            (okay, i used to help my wife with her car loan… cause i’m a car guy, but no more.)

            had a buddy whose wife ran up $80k in student loans for an associates degree… he didn’t know about; shame on him. much of that likely while in deferment/forbearance. they didn’t make it.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            nwf mike, and it’s sad commentary that you literally have to be a top-5% er (give or take) within the pool of millenials to have what used to be considered typical middle class prosperity. Forget about having the luxury of your wife getting to be a stay-at-home mom either, we’ve got college tuitions to save up for. And me buying a house is entirely down to living in a very affordable part of the country, which in turn served as a motivator to start a family sooner (although 30yrs old is far from “early” historically speaking).

            The current economic setting is decidedly anti-family, if you ask me.

            S197GT my wife is about to blow me out of the water with her starting salary as a doctor this fall. I’m not exactly worried.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            S197GT, “i would never pay off another person’s student loans…:

            Well, that’s what Bernie, AOC and all the lefty libbies want you to do, if they get their way — get the gov’t (the taxpayers) to pay off their loans and other student debts.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            28CL-thank you!

            ajla – I agree fully. Colleges have gotten bloated with administrative staff and various overly-nice dining halls, etc. Nothing that contributes to quality of education. High school students and parents keep getting guilt-tripped and corralled into this “if you don’t go to a 4 year college you are worthless” mentality, coupled with the concept of these massive loans that are de-coupled in a time sense. “Oh I have thousands of dollars of loans anyways to pay back over years and years who cares, I may as well pick the school with the nicest food” instead of really shopping around on price. Offering useless majors with very little demand in the work-market place is another prime example of how broken the system is (they are simply serving a demand for this nonsense). Same concept as hospitals with insanely luxurious food and accommodations: insurance covers it, consumers aren’t dealing with the direct cost up front, so everyone wants the cushiest accommodations.

            Leftist promises to simply make college “free” are just going to put these cost increases on steroids as the institutions now get to milk the government (who will just milk the tax payers and/or run up a few trillion more of debt).

            The high cost of college needs to be addressed at the level of what these schools are charging and why, not just throwing other peoples’ money at the problem. Andrew Yang a Democratic primary candidate has the best take on this IMO , although he’s also the buy pushing UBI which I am quite leery of.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            +1, gtem. I went visiting colleges with my youngest daughter recently, and – not surprisingly – the biggest sales pitch always surrounded the amenities. Great food! Cool workout facilities! A pool the size of Delaware! Bougie rooms! And I get why that’s appealing. But it *costs*.

            We settled on a school here in Colorado that had an actual major/career fair as part of the tour process. They offered her a very, very nice package that will greatly lower her costs. If all goes to plan, she graduates in four years with +/- $25,000 in loans. That’s manageable, and damn good for a four year degree while not living at home.

            The downside? It’s in Greeley instead of Boulder or Fort Collins. There are kids who look down on her choice anyway. Whatever. They can see how easy it is to live that fab Boulder life when you have a hundred large in student debt. Good luck, guys.

            And, yes, the idea of a free four year degree is silly – it’s not workable, and it’s not getting passed, so it’s more pie-in-the-sky. But I do support need-based tuition-free community college all the way, particularly if it’s focused strictly on career training or four-year prep.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Unfortunately you are looking specifically at American examples. If you look worldwide you will find affordable post-secondary education is widely available. And at schools as good as or better than the vast majority in the USA.

            Education benefits society as a whole. An educated workforce is more adaptable and learns faster. Its skills are more transferable. In an economy where many of the jobs did not exist 25+ years ago and most of the new jobs do not currently exist, that ability to learn and adapt are the most crucial skills required.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “that ability to learn and adapt are the most crucial skills required.”

            Yes, indeed! That’s what separates the wheat from the chaff; the achievers from the laggards; the haves from the have-nots.

            The ability to improvise, adapt and overcome is what it is all about.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    They’re “Participation Trophy” generation. Armed with only grand sense of entitlement, yet nothing special to offer, none will take a job squeezing mop. Nope, they must start at the top and work their way down.

    That makes it sorta tough to own ANY car. And it’s always been just as hard to start out on your own, own a car, etc, adjusted for inflation.

    Plus actual ownership has never been easier, no carbs to adjust, spark plugs to gap, points, etc. If they did, the interwebs will hold their hands, though anything. Or simply ask it what turds not to buy.

    If we wanted it, we worked for it. No sniveling allowed.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Of course.

      How could we forget that laziness and entitlement were only invented in 2005?

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Right on, Mike. I bought my first car (a two-year-old, 44,000 mile ’75 Vega hatchback, $1,895 + TTL) before my senior year in HS, and paid for it with money earned working in a grocery store. I was a little stunned recently to learn that $1,895 in 1977 is almost $8,000 today, more than I’ve paid for the used cars for my kids.

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        For what it’s worth, the minimum wage in 1977 comes out to $10/hr in today’s money. I have no idea what fuel and insurance cost you back then, but I’m guessing that the cost to insure a teenage driver is quite a bit more expensive now.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Guess who gave them the participation trophies? Boomers like you! Kids didn’t decide they needed the trophies, it was Boomer parents with their fragile egos who couldn’t accept that their kid got beat and wanted to shelter their kids in any way possible.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I’ve always rejected the participation trophy BS, and taught my kids the same way. I don’t like buying them cars, but they’re high achievers in HS, and I want them to get college degrees is fields that pay good money (for example, Daughter No. 2 wanted a degree in journalism but she realizes it doesn’t pay, so is switching to nursing), and not have to worry about a car payment (the first daughter is working while going to college to help with expenses, and the other two are expected to do the same).

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “I don’t like buying them cars,”

          Well, I bought my kids and grandkids cars over the decades and it worked out to their benefit – one less thing to worry about.

          To me it always felt like I was giving them a leg-up on their competition, their peers.

          Kinda like Lori Loughlin, et al, buying their kids’ cheatin’ way into prestigious schools like Harvard, USC, Stanford.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      “If they did, the interwebs will hold their hands, though anything.”
      Hey I saved at least 500 this weekend doing my own work on butterface Focus. Learned to do it on YouTube.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      Yeah, because doing minimum wage job and move out of your house when you are college age, paying for your own tuition, and buying a car with no debt, is really realistic today.

      Talking about entitlement, there’s nothing more entitled than expecting the next generation to replicate the past without regarding to how the world has changed.

      It is smart that the kids these days decided it is pointless to buy a car when you are using it only to show off to girls and get groceries once a week.

      BTW, if you think car is expensive, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Insurance and parking can easily double the car payment.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        $3.35/hr minimum wage just sounds like a lot of money (I guess). Everything seemed prohibitively expensive when I was college age, mid ’80s, but we all managed it, without help from parents, living on our own (with roommates), nice cars (not new), fully insured, if we wanted it bad enough and willing to get off the couch, be there at 6am with steel-toe boots on (or apron), ready to give it hell, finish up college classes at 10pm and homework at 2am.

        Adjusted for inflation, maybe it was a lot of money.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Don’t forget that part of the reason they don’t have cars is that they all want to live in New York or Frisco or some other hilariously expensive place that makes owning a car as costly as having a second apartment.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        So many economic studies demonstrate that those born in North America between 1929 and 1946 have had the greatest economic edge/advantage of any group in modern history. Next to them are those who immigrated to North America as youngsters in the immediate post-war era, and then the ‘early boomers’.

        The North American economy boomed for decades, population growth and economic expansion meant that you would be promoted and receive annual wage increases. Most medium and large corporations also offered pensions.

        And if you purchased a home, often subsidized by government backed mortgages/incentives/etc the value increased dramatically.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Who are these people? It’s nothing like the reality at our house.

    For Daughter No. 1, born in 2000, and a college freshman living 350 miles way, I’ve bought two cars – a 2010 Kia Forte Koup EX with 5-speed manual (she wanted a manual, and it was cheap, because no one else wants manuals), then after she totaled that six months later,a 2012 Forte Koup SX 6-speed auto, which she’s still driving now.

    For Daughter No. 2 (born in 2002, and a HS junior), we’re almost done with The Used Car Search From Hell. We bought three cars (!) in a five-week period. The first car, a 2012 Forte EX sedan, was rear-ended (and totaled) by a lady (with yours truly driving) 45 minutes after purchase, and I’m still trying to get the title mess sorted out, and get an insurance check. We bought the second car, a 2014 Kia Rio EX sedan, ten days ago. After driving it 15 miles, the check engine light came on (P0420, bad cat), and the dealer graciously agreed to buy it back. Car number three, picked up on Thursday, is a 2013 Chevy Cruze LS – hopefully this is the car that gets her through college.

    I’m hoping we don’t have to do any of this again for two years, when Daughter No. 3 becomes the next new driver.

    The point is, if you don’t live in a place like NYC, and paying for Uber and Lyft rides isn’t your idea of fun, then a license and a car is a necessity.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Living in the wide open stretches of the Great American Southwest, it’s pretty much the same as the reality of your house.

      Out here, many families have several cars. Some even have many cars, like for for each driver in the house, plus an extra one if one car should conk out.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I have two kids, 22 and 18. The 22-year-old got her license less than two years ago. The 18-year-old doesn’t have a license yet.

      The 22-year-old took the bus and train downtown every day and graduated early from college. The 18-year-old is getting about twenty-seven large a year in academic scholarships when she starts school this fall.

      We live in a far flung suburb of Denver, not New York, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C. And, by the way, the 22-year-old is a dedicated car nut, just like her old man.

      Someone was saying something about having to drive to go forward in life?

      I don’t buy it. Driving is a nice to have, not a need to have. If the kids are sitting at home all day playing Minecraft, that’s on their parents, not the kids.

    • 0 avatar
      kt_alexander75

      I was born in 2000, my brother in 1997, and my sister in 2003. None of us have licenses, and we don’t live in a big city either. My brother takes the city bus and his bike. My sister and I get rides from my parents. I’m deathly terrified of driving because I wasn’t properly taught, and it’s so dangerous a thing to do if you aren’t confident about it. A license and a car isn’t a necessity for me because I can use my legs to get me places if necessary.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    This is no surprise to me. My son is almost 17. He’s failed his written test a few times since his 16th birthday. He never studies for it and has only written it because he feels forced to do so.

    The problem is that we live outside of the city with no public transit or even taxis. Driving is the only real option where we are. We’re “pushing” him so that he can get himself around without relying on us all the time. His bike can only take him so far, never mind in the snow.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yeah, he’s gotta get on with it. We did the parent taught driver education thing (along with iDriveSafely) for Daughter No. 1 and Daughter No. 2. Daughter No. 1,’s training was pretty easy because she’s laid back like me, but Daughter No. 2 is very high strung, which made teaching her a nightmare (we couldn’t tell her anything, and mistakes were always someone else’s fault).

      We’ve decided that for Daughter No. 3, we’ll pay the money for a driving school to teach her, so we don’t have to.

  • avatar
    Robotdawn

    I wonder if these studies underestimate the impact of free drivers training in High School has. I even got a half credit for my drivers training summer course in 1984.
    It would have been considerably harder to convince me to get up at the age-adjusted ridiculous summer time of 6 am for 6 weeks if I wasn’t getting credit towards graduation. And I doubt my Mother could have afforded the price tag I hear it costs now too.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Cutting drivers training is a perfect example of penny-wise/pound foolish. Cutting drivers ed saves everybody a couple bucks off their taxes. Hooray. And now we’re surrounded by young drivers who don’t even have the minimal training driver’s ed provides. Driving potentially-lethal multi-ton vehicles. What. Could. Go. Wrong?

  • avatar
    James2

    My nephew, who turns 19 in July, just doesn’t care to drive. He went to driver’s education and, once in a while, will actually get behind the wheel of mom/dad’s car… but… a great big shrug from him otherwise. He won’t be saddled with college debt thanks to grandpa, but I don’t see him buying a car unless absolutely necessary.

    Maybe it was my fault when I took him (@ ages 3-5) for rides at, um, extra-legal speeds… and I had him in the front seat when The Law said he had to ride in the back. F the law, it was easier to talk to him this way.

    • 0 avatar
      nwfmike

      My Dad did the same. Alwsys begging him to go fast. Once I got my license, I killed or tried to kill his cars. Washed dishes at below minimum wage to buy my first car, an opel manta. next, bagged groceries and stocked shelves to buy a 70 Mach 1. Love driving to this day.

      Your actions had nothing to do with it. Current generation is ALL about maximum convenience. It will be our downfall as a society.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    A lot of states no longer grant licenses to 16 year olds, and those that do carry many more restrictions (limitations on vehicle occupancy, curfew, etc.) than they did in 1983.

    Does this study control for that?

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Good question. Here in Texas, under 18 means no driving between midnight and 5am unless it’s driving home from a job or a school activity. Also no more than one other person under 18 in the car with them, unless it’s a relative. Zero tolerance for alcohol, and no handheld phone use for any reason (which makes cars with Bluetooth a nice to have).

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      And according to my friends with driving-age kids, they’ve phased out driver’s ed in a lot of high schools and they’re forced into private schools for that (but the education hours requirements for a license haven’t gone away). So families have to pay something like $400-$600 for driving school for each child. This is a hurdle for some families.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    A totally necessary daily (or more) Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha and Avocado toast is expensive. Then there is the necessity of the latest iPhone, which costs as much as I paid for my first car, and a serious phone plan so they can stay connected on social media 24/7/365. And that Gender studies or Modern Dance degree at a quality private school is $100+K, and then their is travel abroad so they can find themselves. And besides, cars are killing the planet from global warming – AOC says we only have 12 years to live and they are not going to waste what little remains of their youth driving around – unless its in the back of a Uber.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Good point about having a pricey new phone and data plan. When I got my first car back in the mid 80s the only other money waster among my peers were early PC video games and audio CDs.

      My middle school aged nieces already have iPads, iPhones and laptops. All they do is text, watch YouTube influencers (ugh) and play video games all day. In a few years when they reach driving age I bet they will expect to be chauffeured around. Next year they will (gasp) take the bus to school! When I was their age I rode my bike everywhere. Like to the library (what’s that uncle?) or the local pizza joint with a pocket full of quarters to play Pac Man. Now if they wish to visit a friend mommy or daddy DRIVES them, despite it being only a block away. Where I often rode my bike for miles including to school, to my job (to pay for a car) and to my friends homes. I remember doing this from about 12 to 16 years old, rain or shine.

      I realize your being funny but travel abroad is actually a great opportunity. Seeing how the rest of the world functions without a Starbucks (with free WiFi) on every corner would be a massive shock to kids these days.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        To be fair, you rode your bike everywhere because you had to leave the house in order to do anything social in nature with someone outside your family.

        Now, you can be social anywhere you have an enabled device and there’s connectivity.

        Obviously this is both good and bad and we are still sussing out the unintended consequences as they spider outward and interact like ripples in a pond.

        I have a 5 year old. Some days he wants to play on his tablet. Some days it’s Legos. Other days he takes my old Matchbox cars and plays in the yard. He’s working on riding his bike. Mom takes him and his sister to the library about every other week. We’re trying to find balance.

        We live in a first-generation suburb (laid out in city-style grid, no drunk-walk streets that all end in cul-de-sacs) and my only concern about him riding his bike around town is that he’ll be hit by a car because the driver had his head in his apps.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      True, the current generation has a real taste for coffee, and spends tons of money on it.

      My generation has a real taste for weed and coke, and spent tons of money on it.

      My parents’ generation had a real taste for booze and cigarettes, and spent tons of money on it.

      I’m sure my grandkids will have a real taste for something that someone considers a big waste of money, which they’ll spend tons of money on.

      And on and on…

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    It only shows how the older generations have more money for the wasteful activities in lives, and how irresponsible they were regarding to drinking, teen pregnancies, STDs, dropping out of schools, drug uses, not going to colleges, etc.

    Yeah, if they were good kids you say they aren’t growing up, and if they spend beyond their means you call them spoiled…

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    A lot of the lack of driving falls squarely on the parents, not the teen. Driving school costs $800 +-, most 15.5 year olds lack that kind of dough in all reality, if mom and dad don’t have it either then their you go. Couple that with the grotesque helicoptering that goes on, some of these moms today won’t let their kid drive when he is 21 let alone 16. It is really sad. My wife teaches 7th grade and sadly shares the cases of extreme insecurity, hyper tension, anxiety a lot of kids have today and my wife feels that most of it can be traced back to the parents. Let the kids live there own life, including failures. The learn resilience.

    Now, back to the topic at hand. My 15 year old got his learners permit the day after he finished his required driving with instructor time, took drivers ed (class room, not driving) the month before he was turning 15 so he could get his permit has soon as possible. He drives quite a bit with me as he does a decent job and I feel it is my duty to teach him. We are working on the clutch, unfortunately the vette’ really is not not the best car to learn clutch on. A Honda, Subaru, or any other 4 mil Econo car would work better but we are using the resources that we have.

    I would be careful painting the current generation with broad strokes. We see a lot of hard working, well behaved young me and women trapsing through our house. Yes they have smart phones, but you know what? They are way smarter than we were at 15 or 16, that I assure you. I think we are in good hands.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Is it possible that some of the kids’ anxiety, and their parents “helicoptering,” is the result of the world we live in now? When I was a kid, schools had plenty of problems, but ‘random teenage girl has breezed into town from out of state so she can re-enact Columbine’ wasn’t one of them. Some really horrific s**t is happening, and today, it happens in real time on our phones.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        More accurate I would say is the perception of the world we live in now.

        Violent crimes of all types are hovering near multi-decade lows, former “no-go” zones of major cities are now gentrified and livable, etc. But you certainly wouldn’t know that from our 24 hour news cycle. Objectively, the world was much more dangerous when I was a kid in the early 90s and crime was peaking. But at that time, a girl attempting to re-enact Columbine wouldn’t have even made a blip outside of a local newspaper.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          FreedMike, I highly recommend the book ‘Factfulness’ by Hans Rosling.

          We do not have a safety problem, we have an awareness problem. We are aware of every large and small horrific incident in real time, it is not as though they happen more frequently, in fact less so, it is that we are made aware of them constantly via our virtual devices.

          As a CO resident, and a spouse of a teacher, yes the nut job that came here last week was disturbing but thankfully the situation ended as expected. As soon as she walked out of that gun store her mortality measurement was hours, in lieu of years or decades.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’m sorry, that’s not correct. School shootings ARE happening more frequently now.

            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180419131025.htm

            We can blame the media all we want, but they’re only making us aware of what’s happening in front of our very eyes, which is their job. A story like “12 school kids gunned down in their school” is sensational by its’ very nature, and it was no less sensational 100 years ago than it is now.

            I can’t blame parents for over-reacting.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            I did not say school shootings are down, prior to 1999 they did not exist.
            What I did type though was we do not have a safety problem, we have an awareness problem. School shootings aside, our society now is as a safe as it has ever been. I can see though how the remainder of what I typed could be interpreted to the school issue only, my mistake.

  • avatar

    I am telling you the truth: Generation Z will be the last generation. We run out of letters. The future is bleak. I see catastrophe coming that will wipe us all off the face of Earth unless we ACT NOW! Spread the news across the land and just do the best you can, all we’ve got is just the land; take a stand, save the land.


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