A new poll is out examining how the recession and its aftermath have affected young adults between the ages of 18 and 34. Nearly half (48%) believe that they will be worse off than their parents and many are delaying getting married (25%), moving out on their own (33%) or starting a family (30%) because of debt or job concerns. Nearly three-fourths (71%) are still uninsured, although the number of uninsured youth is declining thanks to health reform. Many (42%) are amassing personal debt.
- 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.
The poll was commissioned by Young Invincibles and Demos. It was conducted by Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research and Consulting.