New Polling Data: Millennials and Poverty

By Patrick McNeil, Leadership Conference Education Fund Communications Assistant

The Half in Ten campaign and the Center for American Progress this week released new data highlighting the relationship between Millennials (ages 18-34) and poverty. The data comes from a recent study done in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, and the significant Millennial oversample reveals that they are more likely than older Americans to directly face economic problems.

For example, compared to older Americans, Millennials are more likely to be unable to afford medical care (29 percent v. 45 percent), have too little money to buy enough food (27 percent v. 45 percent), and are twice as likely to fall behind in rent or mortgage payments (19 percent v. 38 percent).

While Millennials and older Americans basically agree that structural economic problems primarily cause poverty (and not because of bad decisions or irresponsible behavior), Millennials are much more likely to recognize that racial discrimination plays a part in who ends up in poverty. Fifty-seven percent of non-Millennials totally disagreed that racial discrimination plays a large role, while an almost identical proportion of Millennials – 58 percent – believes it does.

Millennials also support the traditional safety net and other initiatives to reduce poverty. The table below shows levels of support by Millennials and non-Millennials for particular proposals to reduce poverty.

Millennial opinion

To learn more about how Millennials feel about poverty, or to explore other recent reports, please visit Half in Ten’s website here.

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