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XG Fact Sheet

Crossroads Generation


Young Americans face incredibly high unemployment rates, and many are giving up looking for work. Even among those young Americans with a job, many are only working part-time but are looking for full time work.

  • The unemployment rate for Americans 18-29 is 11.6% (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • This number doesn’t include young Americans who have given up. Between Obama’s inauguration and April 2012, there are 1.4 million more young Americans who aren’t even in the workforce as employed or looking for work. (Source: BLS).
  • Thirty-two percent of 18-29 year olds in the U.S. workforce were underemployed in April 2012. Source: “One in Three Young U.S. Workers are Underemployed,” Gallup, May 9, 2012: http://www.gallup.com/poll/154553/One-Three-YoungUnderemployed.aspx)
  • When new graduates find jobs, their starting salaries tend to be lower than those who graduated a decade earlier, and may never catch up. (Source: “For Most Graduates, Grueling Job Hunt Awaits,” Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2012)
  • For Americans under 24 without a college degree, one in five who are looking for a job cannot find one. (Source: “Generation Jobless: For Those Under 24, a Portrait in Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2011)

Students graduating during Obama’s term in once have had it worse than students graduating before his presidency. The debt burden those graduates took on to get their degree has risen as well.

  • Fewer than half of the students who graduated from college during Obama’s presidency were able to find a full-time job within a year of graduation, compared to nearly three out of four graduates finding full time work in the years before Obama took office. (Source: “For Most Graduates, Grueling Job Hunt Awaits,” Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2012)
  • Student loan debt is now over $1 trillion. (Source: “Student Loan Debt Exceeds One Trillion Dollars,” NPR, April 24, 2012: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/24/151305380/student-loan-debt-exceeds-one-trillion-dollars)
  • Nearly two thirds of the class of 2010 graduated with debt, averaging $25,000 of debt per graduate. (Source: “For Most Graduates, Grueling Job Hunt Awaits,” Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2012)

Young Americans want to be independent, but the bad economy is keeping young Americans from living on their own and making the life choices they want.

  • Two out of three Americans aged 18 to 34 say they think that children should be financially independent from their parents by age 22. (Source: “Young, Underemployed, and Optimistic,” Pew Research Center, February 9, 2012: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2012/02/young-underemployed-and-optimistic.pdf)
  • Some 42 percent of those aged 18 to 29 who graduated from college are living with their parents. (Source: “The Boomerang Generation: Feeling OK about Living with Mom and Dad,” Pew Research Center, March 15, 2012: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2012/03/PewSocialTrends-2012-BoomerangGeneration.pdf)
  • One in five young adults postponed getting married or having a baby because of the economic pressure they face. (Source: “Young, Underemployed, and Optimistic,” Pew Research Center, February 9, 2012)

Obama’s support among young voters has fallen from where it stood in 2008.

  • According to the most recent Harvard Institute of Politics study, just barely half of young people approve of Obama’s job as president, and only 41% approve of his handling of the economy. (Source: http://www.iop.harvard.edu/Research-Publications/Survey/Spring-2012-Survey)
  • Democrats’ lead among voters under 30 fell by sixteen points from the 2008 to 2010 exit polls, from a 29 point lead on the House ballot in 2008 to a 13 point lead in 2010. (Source: Media Exit Polls, 2008 and 2010)