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May 04, 2012 01:02 PM EDT

Class of 2012: Not so different from mom and dad


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most in the class of 2012 were born in 1990 - a year when automakers struggled and gas prices climbed to almost $2 a gallon. They grew up with Harry Potter but without rotary phones and spent more time texting and less time talking.

But in many financial aspects, they aren't as different from their parents as that rotary phone - cell phone divide might imply.

Twenty years later, gas prices are still rising and carmakers are still struggling. Today's graduates started college during the worst recession since the Depression, but there was a recession in the 1990s, too.

Today's roughly 2 million students are graduating into a tough job market, but it is improving. One key difference between today's graduates and their parents? The graduates are probably carrying more debt.

Here is a graphic profile of the Class of 2012 as they compare to their parents. (

(Jilian Mincer)

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