Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, February 6, 2013
It’s not just the high unemployment rate among young Americans that is depressing – it’s also the devaluation of their work in today’s economy.
A new study commissioned by the Harvard Institute of Politics found that just 62 percent of Millennials are now employed. And out of that group, half of them are working only part-time. This is on top of the fact that 13.1 percent of Millennials were unemployed in January, according to the latest job figures released by Generation Opportunity. Another 27 percent of Millennials are considered to be out of the workforce entirely. (This number does, however, include students, the disabled or incarcerated, and stay-at-home parents.)
Like the Generation Opportunity report, the Harvard study found that unemployment among young Hispanics and African-Americans are nearly four times as high as the national unemployment rate for all Americans.
In general, the report revealed that attending college, which only 59 percent of Millennials have done, is a better sign today of social status than employment because of the lack of jobs available to them in today’s economy.
The Millennials Civic Health Index, which was also conducted with the support of the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, and Mobilize.org, examined the makeup of the 18-29 year old voters who participated in last year’s presidential election to find how involved they are in their local communities.
One of the biggest findings from the report was that young Americans with college degrees were more likely to get involved in the political process than those without degrees. One in ten college graduates have either contacted a public official or served on a committee or as the officer of a civic group, and nearly one in five of them have participated in either a boycott or a buycott. While engagement typically increases with age, the report found that 22-25 year olds are less likely to get involved in their local communities than other Millennials.
The report also found that Millennials are the most diverse generation today, with four in ten young Americans coming from a minority background. In addition, more than a quarter of them have at least one foreign-born parent. Millennials are also less likely to marry young than their older counterparts. Less than 20 percent of all Millennials aged 18-24 are married, and only 40 percent of them are married by the time they reach the age of 30.
According to former Kentucky Secretary of State (and current Director of the Harvard Institute of Politics) Trey Grayson, “After studying the political and civic beliefs of America’s young adults for twelve years, we know they care about their communities – and their country. Working to better understand and engage with 18-29 year-olds – the Millennial generation – is not only critical to ensuring a healthy democracy and citizenry, but also imperative for today’s political campaigns looking to appeal to this key demographic.”