In a comprehensive analysis, the Population Reference Bureau reveals alarming health and safety threats faced by Millennial and Gen Z women, highlighting risks that surpass those of their mothers and grandmothers.
The report, titled “Losing More Ground: Revisiting Young Women’s Well-Being Across Generations,” delves into federal data, unveiling critical issues impacting the physical well-being and safety of younger generations.
The study, published on December 1, 2023, by Brooke Steinberg, explores the heightened risks faced by women born after 1981, shedding light on the unprecedented challenges impacting their health and safety.
The research indicates that Millennial and Gen Z women face increased risks of suicide, maternal mortality, and murder compared to preceding generations. Despite enjoying better educational opportunities and higher pay, these generations encounter structural barriers preventing them from realizing their full potential.
Factors Behind the Struggles of Gen Z Women
The Population Reference Bureau identifies several key factors contributing to the challenges faced by Millennial and Gen Z women. These include harmful social media content, the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, heightened political divisions, rising inflation, and reproductive health issues, including state restrictions on abortion.
A notable finding is the substantial increase in suicide rates among Gen Z females. While the suicide rate for baby boomer teenagers in the 1960s and 70s was three girls per 100,000, Gen Z female teenagers now experience a staggering rate of five girls per 100,000, marking an unprecedented surge.
Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Health
Deaths in childbirth have risen from a rate of 19 per 100,000 a decade ago to 30 deaths per 100,000 among millennials. The report links this increase to factors such as limited access to safe abortion services, contributing to a reversal of health and safety gains made by women in previous generations, particularly women of color.
Diana Elliott, Vice President for U.S. Programs at the Population Reference Bureau, emphasizes that despite advancements in education and income, structural barriers hinder young women’s ability to overcome health and safety challenges, preventing them from reaching their full potential.
On a positive note, the report highlights that 43.6% of young women are more likely to obtain a degree, a significant increase compared to 28% of Gen X women. Additionally, the incarceration rate among young women has seen a nearly 20-percentage-point decline, marking the first such reduction in over 50 years.
The analysis concludes by underscoring the urgency of addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by Millennial and Gen Z women. The report advocates for comprehensive solutions to dismantle structural barriers, improve mental health support, and ensure access to reproductive healthcare, fostering an environment where young women can thrive.
The findings of the report call for immediate attention and action from policymakers, healthcare professionals, and communities to address the root causes of these health and safety threats. Ensuring the well-being of Millennial and Gen Z women requires a concerted effort to dismantle systemic barriers and create a supportive environment conducive to their holistic development.
In essence, “Losing More Ground” serves as a wake-up call to society, urging a collective commitment to empower young women and pave the way for a healthier and safer future.