The State of Young America: Economic Barriers to the American Dream

Young Invincibles & Demos released a report called State of Young America: Economic Barriers to the American Dream, examining the values and goals of millennials, and comparing their economic opportunities to those of past generations in American history. As a millennial myself, while the facts and figures working against us in today's economy are overwhelming, I take solace in the fact that our generation is the smartest and most progressive generation in American history. The adversity only makes us stronger; today's challenges only strengthen our resolve to create change in our lifetime. The report is well worth your read - download it here from the Demos site for a full compilation of charts, graphs, and the personal stories of young people across the country. databook The databook is broken down into five categories: jobs and the economy, college access and attainment, health care, cost of living, and raising a family. Here's a compiled list of top facts in each category by Demos:

Jobs & The Economy

* Only workers with at least a BA degree saw earnings increase over the last generation * Median earnings for young African-Americans are 75% of the earnings of whites; 68% for Latinos * Young women earn less than men at every level of education. * Twenty-nine percent of 18-24 year olds and 16% of 25-34 year-olds are underemployed * The percentage of young adults with jobs is at its lowest point in a generation

Higher Education

* Average tuition is three times higher today than in 1980 * Two out of three students graduate with student loan debt, at an average of over $24,000 * African American students are more likely to take out student loans, and to graduate with higher debt levels *The student loan default rate rose 31% over just 2 years.

Health Care & Coverage

* In just 10 years, employer-sponsored insurance dropped 12.8% for workers 18-24 and 8.5% for workers 25-34. * During the recession, uninsurance rose among both 18-24 and 25-34 year-olds. * Young people of color are disproportionately likely to lack insurance. * 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

Cost of Living

* 41.3% of 25-34 year-old households spend more than 30% of their income on rent * The share of young adults living with their parents increased * Levels of credit card debt among those ages 25 to 34 rose 81% since 1989, to an average of $6,255 in 2007

Raising A Family

* The labor force participation of mothers rose 25% since 1980 * Just 11% of all workers had access to paid family leave benefits * Center-based child care fees for two children exceeded annual median rent payments

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