Gen Next Squeezed By Recession, But Most See Better Times Ahead
June 5, 2009, Pew Research Center — While the current economic downturn has affected all Americans, the impact is falling quite heavily on young people. A larger share of those younger than age 30 say they have had trouble paying rent or mortgage or have faced job losses in their household than those ages 30 or older. On the plus side for young people, the downturn in the stock market had less effect on their retirement accounts, although young people are far less likely than older Americans to have money in the market.
Younger Americans have also found some unique ways to respond to the financial situation. Nearly four-in-ten people ages 18 to 29 say they have cut back spending on alcohol or cigarettes, and a third report having changed to a less expensive cell phone plan or cancelled their service altogether.
About one-in-five young adults (21%) say they have either moved in with a friend or relative or have had a friend or relative move in with them because of the recession. This is the case for fewer than 10% of people 30 and older.
While the economic downturn clearly affects younger Americans in some substantial ways, their overall outlook remains optimistic. Fully 76% of young adults believe their personal financial situation will improve over the course of the next year, compared with fewer than half of those ages 30 and older. Overall, 71% of adults say they are confident they will have enough income and assets to last throughout their retirement years, and this spans all age ranges. But adults under age 30 are more likely than those ages 30-64 to say they are very confident about getting through retirement with ease.
Political Values: Stark Age Divides
The most recent report on core political values by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, released May 21, found that Generation Next, which is also referred to as Generation Y (born in 1977 or later), expresses more liberal views in a number of areas when compared with older age cohorts (see the box "Long-Term Generational Trends in Political Values" below). Gen Nexters have much more positive attitudes about government -- they are more likely to see government as effective and efficient.