Acumen Insights

Millennial Views on Economic Vulnerabilities

GenForward, a joint survey between the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago and the AP-NORC Center, examined perceptions of economic vulnerabilities from a sample of 18- to 30-year-olds. The research revealed that many young people do not have positive perceptions of their household’s financial situation. This is especially the case for African American and Latino/a Millennials. Only 29 percent of Latino/as and 34 percent of African Americans described the financial situation of their household as good. Forty-five percent of Asian Americans and 47 percent of whites described this. In addition, 82 percent of Latino/as and 81 percent of African Americans said they would have difficulty paying an unexpected $1,000 bill right away. Approximately 76 percent of whites and 68 percent of Asian Americans said the same.

Millennials were also likely to perceive that several systematic barriers prevented them from achieving their economic goals, especially African Americans and Latino/as. Just under half of African Americans (49 percent) and Latino/as (46 percent) said that wages not increasing fast enough to get ahead is a barrier to success. Only about a third of Asian Americans and whites said the same (35 percent). African Americans were more likely than any of the other races to report that lack of jobs in the community was a barrier to achieving economic success. Not having education was also viewed as a barrier to economic success by 35 percent of African Americans, 31 percent of Latino/as, 30 percent of Asian Americans, and 24 percent of whites.

The feeling of job security was most prevalent for whites. Sixty-three percent of them were confident that if they left their current employer, they could easily find another job. Approximately 53 percent of African Americans, 48 percent of Latino/as, and 43 percent of Asian Americans said the same.