Economy Hurting Millennials
Special Report - September 11, 2012
A new poll finds that young Americans are making daily lifestyle changes and delaying major life decisions because of the weak economy. The nationwide survey of 18-29 year old Americans, which was commissioned by Generation Opportunity this summer, was released on August 22. According to the poll, nearly nine in 10 young adults (or 89 percent) “say the poor economy impacts daily life,” while 84 percent have delayed key life milestones and decisions. Only eight percent said their daily life was not impacted by the current state of the economy.
Among the changes to daily life reported by 89 percent of the respondents are the following. (respondents could choose more than one change):
- More than half reduced their entertainment budget;
- 43 percent reduced their grocery/food budget;
- 43 percent cut back on gifts for friends and family;
- Four in 10 skipped a vacation;
- 38 percent drove less;
- 36 percent took active steps to reduce home energy costs;
- Almost one-third tried to find an additional job;
- 27 percent sold personal items or property (cars, electronic appliances, or other possessions);
- More than one-quarter changed their living situation (moved in with family, took extra roommates, downgraded apartment or home);
- 17 percent skipped a wedding, family reunion, or other significant social event.
The Millennial generation is also postponing major life steps, such as post-secondary education, marriage, children, and ownership, citing the economy as the major factor in their decisions. Only 12 percent of respondents could not cite a major life decision that has been negatively affected by the economy. Of those who said their “key life decisions [are] in jeopardy,” the following were the life changes most cited:
- 38 percent Buy their own place;
- 32 percent Go back to school/getting more education or training;
- 31 percent Start a family;
- 27 percent Change jobs/cities;
- 26 percent Pay off student loans or other debt;
- 25 percent Save for retirement;
- 23 percent Get married.
The poll also found that more than two-thirds (64 percent) of young Americans “believe the availability of more quality, full-time jobs upon graduation is more important than lower student loan interest rates.” Additionally, more than three-fourths (76 percent) of Millennials “believe that the lack of job opportunities is shrinking the American middle class.” A super-majority (76 percent) of those surveyed plan “to vote in the presidential election.”
According to Generation Opportunity, unemployment among Millennials was a staggering 12.7 percent in July 2012. That number nearly doubled among African-American 18-29 year olds at 22.3 percent.
“Frankly, it is not a pretty picturemillions of young Americans are paying the price, in a very personal way, for failed leadership and failed policies,” stated Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity, and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor. “Millennials are savvy. They know national policies have personal impactthey feel it first-hand.”
Young Adults View Life Issues - July 3, 2012
Same-Sex Marriage Divides Millennials - September 7, 2010
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