Demos and The Center for American Progress Publish New Studies
Washington, DC — Today's young adults are feeling the impact of a massive shift in the U.S. economy — changes that are documented in a new data report from Demos and an analysis of public opinion polling by The Center for American Progress. The studies were announced today with a press teleconference.
The Demos report, "The Economic State of Young America," is a comprehensive databook offering proof that a combination of declining incomes, growing debt, and high costs of education, homeownership and healthcare are conspiring to make this generation the first to not surpass the living standards of their parents.
"Young people today are being hit by a one-two economic punch," said Tamara Draut, director of the Economic Opportunity Program at Demos and author of "The Economic State of Young America" and also a book entitled "Strapped: Why America's 20-and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead." "For this generation of young workers, the economy no longer generates widespread opportunity and security, and our public policies haven't evolved to pick up any of the slack. In fact, many of the problems we see today are a direct result of a disinvestment in the policies meant to ensure that the opportunity ladder is firmly in place."
The Center for American Progress study, "The Progressive Generation", provides an extensive examination of the economic views of young adults today, finding that on a wide range of economic issues, from taxes to government spending, and from healthcare to support for labor unions, young people today have decidedly progressive views.
"The Economic State of Young America" provides a portrait of the economic status of today's young adults, also broken down by race and gender--and offers policy solutions that Congress and state legislatures can act on. Findings in the report uncover:
"Young adults today think that the government can be a force for good in the economy, and that increased investments in healthcare, education, and other areas are necessary to ensure strong and sustainable economic growth. Millennials are more progressive than other age groups today and than previous generations when they were younger. The progressive economic views of this large and politically active generation of young adults is likely to have a profound impact in 2008 and into the future," said David Madland, Director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress and author of the new "Progressive Generation" report.
The "Progressive Generation" report finds that:
-- Millennials are more likely to support universal health coverage than any age group in the 30 previous years the question has been asked, with 57 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds saying that health insurance should come from a government insurance plan.
-- Eighty-seven percent of Millennials think the government should spend more money on health care even if a tax increase is required to pay for it, the highest level of support in the question's 20-year history.
-- An overwhelming 95 percent of Millennials think education spending should be increased even if a tax increase is required to pay for it, the highest level ever recorded on this question in the 20 years it has been asked.
-- Sixty-one percent of Millennials think the government should provide more services, the most support of any age group in any of the previous 20 years the question was asked.
-- Millennials are very supportive of labor unions, giving them an average ranking of 60 on a 0-to-100 scale (with 0 indicating a negative view and 100 being a positive view), the second-highest level of support of any age group in the over 40-year history of the question.
As part of its efforts to highlight the generational economic crisis, Demos invited all three remaining presidential candidates to answer a questionnaire about young adult economic concerns, to be distributed at an historic gathering of young activists on May 8 and 9 in Washington, DC: "A Better Deal: Reclaiming Economic Security for a New Generation." To date, only Hillary Clinton for President has responded. The questionnaires are available for download with "The Economic State of Young America" at www.demos.org. The "Progressive Generation" is available for download at http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/05/pdf/progressive_generation.pdf.
Hard copies of the report and interviews with Demos and CAP experts can be requested, or can be obtained in person at "A Better Deal", a young voters economic issues conference in Washington, DC, on May 8-9.