New survey finds racial and ethnic divide in young people's views on their own economic security

A new GenForward survey released today reveals how young people feel about a wide range of key economic issues and provides comprehensive data on young people's perceptions of their economic future. The GenForward September 2016 survey is from the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The survey finds young African Americans and Latino/as are the most economically vulnerable and that have differing experiences with racial discrimination in the workplace.

"These data indicate that face a number of unique economic challenges and that young adults of color often face what we call an economic opportunity gap," said Cathy Cohen, a professor of political science and founder of the Black Youth Project and GenForward survey at the University of Chicago. "However, young people—particularly young adults of color—also exhibit a surprising amount of optimism about their economic future."

Three issues are generally at the top of young adults' list of economic concerns across all racial and ethnic groups: reducing , increasing wages, and reducing income inequality. Forty-one percent of African Americans, 35 percent of Asian Americans, 32 percent of Latino/as, and 30 percent of whites identify reducing student debt as one of the most important economic issues for the next president.

The latest GenForward survey also found that Hillary Clinton continues to receive more support from young people of color than Donald Trump, while whites are split between the candidates. Few young people plan to vote for third-party candidates, with Gary Johnson receiving support from 15 percent of whites, 8 percent of Latino/as, 6 percent of Asian Americans, and 4 percent of African Americans, while Jill Stein received less than 5 percent support from all racial and ethnic groups.

Some of the key findings from the nationally representative survey of young people age 18-30:

  • Young people of all races and ethnicities say reducing student debt, increasing wages, and reducing income inequality are the key economic issues for the next president to address.
  • Young people of color, especially African Americans, report experiencing more work-related discrimination than whites and believe their race makes it more difficult for them to succeed economically.
  • Young women across racial and are more likely than men to have experienced economic discrimination. African American men also report high rates of gender discrimination.
  • Few young people have a positive view of their household's financial situation, and young African Americans and Latino/as are the most economically vulnerable.
  • Although most young people have negative perceptions of the economy, many are very optimistic about their economic futures. Among young people, whites tend to be less positive about their future than people of color.
  • Young people of color continue to favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump for president, while whites remain split between the candidates. Third-party candidates have limited appeal to young people, especially young adults of color.

"While we continue to see splits in how young whites, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino/as view critical issues, there are significant exceptions," said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center. "Although many young people of all races and ethnicities do not have a very positive view of the current economy, most are optimistic about their personal future and believe they will do better than their parents."

Citation: New survey finds racial and ethnic divide in young people's views on their own economic security (2016, October 6) retrieved 19 April 2024 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

On issue of undocumented immigrants, survey finds young people of color prefer Clinton, young whites Trump


Feedback to editors