Today’s 20-somethings are the first generation, as a whole, to face downward economic mobility compared to their parents’ generation, according to a new report from national policy center Demos and youth advocacy organization Young Invincibles. The report, entitled “The State of Young America,” details how the Great Recession has intensified the impact of thirty years of negative economic trends across young Americans’ lives, starting with an analysis of wages: Almost all young people make less than the previous generation at the same age, with young men making $.90 for each dollar their fathers earned, and those with only a high school diploma far less.
The release also includes compelling results from an exclusive national poll of young people, conducted by Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research & Consulting. The poll shows how a plurality (48 percent) believe that Millenials may be worse off than their parents and 68 percent believe it is harder to make ends meet since the Great Recession, while 69 percent still believe the American Dream is achievable for their generation.
“The State of Young America” also includes policy recommendations from Demos and first-hand accounts of struggling young Americans that illuminate the stories behind the troubling data findings.
The Poll: Key Results
Young Invincibles and Demos commissioned a survey of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 to better capture their circumstances, their anxieties, and their ambitions. The poll results show a population of young Americans who are discouraged with their current economic standing, yet continue to hold out hope for their futures and express strong opinions about the way forward for their generation.
- Just over half (53 percent) of young workers have seen earnings increases over the past four years, leaving 46 percent of the working population with stagnant or even decreasing earnings across the period.
- Latinos are the most frustrated with their personal financial situation (60 percent reported it as just fair or poor), followed by African Americans (55 percent) and whites (50 percent).
- Many young Americans are falling into personal debt. Forty-two percent of those under age 35 have more than $5,000 in personal debt that does not include a mortgage.
- Among all young people who have seen their debt increase, school loans (42 percent), credit cards (35 percent), and medical bills (27 percent) are the most common kinds of increased debt.
- A full 71 percent of uninsured young adults said they were uninsured because they could not afford coverage, their employer did not offer health insurance, or they had been denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
- Recent reforms to the health care system have begun to reverse that trend, as 1 million young people under the age of 26 joined their parent’s plan in the last quarter of 2010 and the first two quarters of 2011.
- When asked what Congress’ top priorities should be, young Americans want them to focus on jobs, education, and on ensuring that Social Security is available for their generation.
- The continued economic slump has caused a delay in important life decisions and concerns about future family life. Almost half (46 percent) have delayed purchasing a home, and nearly one-third of young people have delayed moving out on their own (33 percent) or starting a family (30 percent). A quarter has delayed getting married (25 percent). Minorities postponed these decisions with more frequency.
- The poll shows how a plurality (48 percent) believe that Millenials may be worse off than their parents and 68 percent believe it is harder to make ends meet since the Great Recession, while 69 percent still believe the American Dream is achievable for their generation.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from (Full Report @)