Inter-generational housing inequalities: 'Baby Boomers' versus the 'Millennials'



Hoolachan J & McKee K (2019) Inter-generational housing inequalities: 'Baby Boomers' versus the 'Millennials'. Urban Studies, 56 (1), pp. 210-225.

In contrast to the post-war period, the late 20th and early 21st centuries in the UK have been characterised by the advancement of neoliberal policies including privatisation of the housing system and employment casualisation. Consequently, there are growing socioeconomic inequalities between those born in the post-war period – the 'Baby Boomers' – and the younger generation – the 'Millennials'. Such inequalities have led to narratives of inter-generational conflict with Baby Boomers framed as jeopardising the futures of Millennials. Drawing on Mannheim's theory of social generations, the concept of generational habitus and qualitative data from 49 Baby Boomers and 62 Millennials, we unpack the ways in which inter-generational inequalities are intersubjectively understood and discussed. Our data indicate that while young people are aware of inter-generational inequalities, they do not feel resentful towards their parents’ generation for profiting at their expense. Instead, many blame the government for not representing their interests. Thus, narratives of inter-generational conflict misleadingly direct blame towards the agency of Baby Boomers rather than political structures.

Baby Boom; generation; generational habitus; housing; Millennial; youth;

Urban Studies: Volume 56, Issue 1

FundersLeverhulme Trust and Scottish Government
Publication date01/01/2019
Publication date online03/07/2018
Date accepted by journal07/04/2018
PublisherSAGE Publications

People (1)


Dr Kim McKee
Dr Kim McKee

Senior Lecturer, Housing Studies