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Gen X, the forgotten generation derided as slackers by its predecessors, has mostly avoided being drawn into the often nasty generational feud between millennials and baby boomers over wealth, privilege and opportunity. That could get tougher once everyone realizes just how well off Gen Xers have become.

Over the course of the pandemic Gen X, which includes those people born between 1965 and 1980, quietly overtook every other generation to become the wealthiest in Canada, according to data from Statistics Canada. That’s continued even as the latest numbers from Statscan show millennials were the only demographic group to see its net worth shrink over the past year.

Not all Gen Xers and boomers are millionaires, of course, just as not all millennials got poorer last year. The amounts reported by Statscan are averages and don’t take into account vast wealth inequality within each generation.

Still, the numbers capture the trend and trajectory of generational wealth in Canada, and the passing of the wealth baton from baby boomers to Gen Xers was driven by a combination of financial assets as well as real estate.

It was always inevitable that Gen X would eventually surpass the baby boom generation in net worth. The first wave of boomers is moving into retirement, and that often entails downsizing homes and drawing down savings. Meanwhile Gen Xers are in their prime earning years, and for those who own homes – as roughly 73 per cent of people in that demographic do – surging prices over the last decade provided a windfall.

It’s enough to make a millennial resentful.

Decoder is a weekly feature that unpacks an important economic chart.

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