Perhaps worst of all, the recession undermined our traditional belief in a better day ahead. Just one in five Americans is confident that life for today’s children will turn out better than it did for their parents, according to a 2014 survey conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.Nearly three in five Americans expect today’s children to be worse off, according to a 2017 Pew survey.

Some of this pain was self-inflicted, to be sure, as buyers seeking to catch up and get ahead of the market—they thought prices would just keep rising—drove up the home-ownership rate with dodgy loans many could not afford to repay. After approaching 70 percent, the rate is now back in the 63-to-65-percent range of the quarter-century preceding the housing bubble.

But there are two key reasons that most Americans still haven’t recovered their wealth or position from a decade earlier, and that most young adults find themselves starting the race far behind: slow wage growth across the nation and increasingly unaffordable housing prices in the most expensive , and often most desired markets.