Guest post by Alyssa Brown
As many new college graduates enter the workforce, Gallup found that young adults ages 18 to 29 are more than twice as likely as older adults to be underemployed. In addition to this seeming economic disadvantage, young adults will shoulder the responsibility of the growing national debt. In the wake of these challenging economic circumstances, many people want to know how young adults feel about their current and future prospects.
The following Gallup metrics offer valuable insight into the thoughts and feelings of young adults in the U.S:
Gallup classifies Americans as "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering" according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10 based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Those who rate their present life a 7 or higher and their life in five years an 8 or higher are classified as thriving, while those who rate both dimensions a 4 or lower are considered suffering.
In May, 62.9% of young adults were "thriving," which is essentially unchanged from the previous three months and on par with the levels in early 2008, prior to the economic recession. Although young adults face a challenging economic climate, this group consistently tends to rate their future situation more positively than older adults.
Likelihood of Being Rich
Gallup recently asked Americans how likely it is that they themselves will ever be rich and young Americans are slightly less optimistic now than they were on this measure in 2003. However, this slight decline in optimism is on par with the decline among all American adults.
The Next Generation's Prospects
Gallup recently asked whether Americans were satisfied with the opportunity for the next generation to live better than their parents. Forty-eight percent of young adults say they are satisfied with the next generation's prospects, slightly up from 43% in 1992. This increase in young adults’ satisfaction with the next generation’s prospects is similar to the increase seen among all national adults.
Gallup asks Americans each month whether they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. Young adults are more satisfied with the direction things are heading in the U.S. than other Americans. The gap between young adults’ satisfaction and national adults’ satisfaction increased to 17 percentage points in June 2012, up from nine percentage points in June 2011. Gallup will monitor U.S. satisfaction among young adults to see if this trend continues.
Better Off Financially Than Your Parents
At the end of last year, Gallup found that most Americans say they are financially better off than their parents were at that age. However, young adults were significantly less likely in 2011 than in 1998 to say they are better off financially than their parents were at that age.
Gallup will continue to examine changes in young adults' attitudes in the coming months. Sign up for News Alerts to get Gallup News stories and data as soon as they are published. Labels: jobs, satisfaction, young people