Do Millennials Have a Bright Future Ahead?

For over 200 years, a basic tenet of the American dream was that the next generation should be better off than their parents’ generation. However, there is growing fear that this may no longer hold true.

With unemployment for 18 to 24 year-olds at twice the national average, the average student loan debt held by a graduate at $24,000, and a decades-long decline in wages for young workers, it’s no wonder we are concerned about the future. To research and analyze these concerns, Young Invincibles teamed up with DEMOS to dig deeper into what has happen to young people over the past few decades, how they feel about this, and whether the fear described above is indeed warranted. 

The report, called State of Young America and set to be released on November 2, examines that very notion by developing a comprehensive economic picture of the newest generation trying to get ahead in America, the Millennials, and comparing them to the prior generations when they were just starting out. As our report details, the reality is indeed that for young people today, it is harder to either work or educate one’s way into the middle class.

The report is organized into five key areas: jobs and income; health care; college access and attainment; cost of living; and raising a family. It is followed by a comprehensive summary of a groundbreaking poll of 18 to 34 year-olds on their feelings about all of those issues. The data shows a long-term decline in wages and employment levels that led up to an even starker recession. It describes rising tuition costs at a time when the premium on an education is at its peak, and high uninsurance levels that are only just starting to be addressed by health care reform.

Indeed, the work of rebuilding the middle class, for young adults and all Americans, will not happen without a major national commitment to the endeavor.

So why do you think the path to the middle class is so much harder today, and given this downward trend, what path forward do you see? Should we invest more in education? Jobs programs? How should we deal with the burgeoning cost of college, and the difficulties young families face as they look to buy a house or have children of their own? 

Photo Credit: david_shankbone

On Wednesday, November 2, Young Invincibles will release the State of Young America report, which includes a comprehensive poll, data anlaysis, and stories of young people from across the country. To download the report next week, visit www.StateOfYoungAmerica.org.

On Wednesday, November 9, join Young Invincibles and other national youth groups for a lobby day on Capitol Hill to talk to our leaders about the importance of taking action to improve the employment prospects of Millennials. RSVP here: http://bit.ly/o0tL3x.

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Jennifer Mishory

Jennifer Mishory is the Deputy Director of Young Invincibles, a national organization committed to mobilizing and expanding opportunity for young Americans, 18 to 34 years old. Her work focuses on health care, higher education, tax issues and unemployment, all geared toward putting Millenials at the center of the debate. Jennifer received her BA from UCLA and JD from Georgetown Law, and frequently blogs at speak.younginvincibles.org.

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