Younger generations are generally filled with hope and optimism about their future. The newly released: iOme Measure of Millennials finds that 18-to-29 year olds are not looking at their economic future through rose colored glasses. The past three years have been challenging economically. A significant rise in unemployment and substantial budget deficits around the world has everyone thinking about the future, but how do young people in particular feel about all the economic uncertainty in the world today?
Millennials see a strong connection between the financial health of the US. and their own, personal financial situation. When asked how concerned they are about the financial situation facing the US. government and how concerned they are about their own situation they give almost identical results.
Men are somewhat more concerned about the country’s financial situation with 49% saying they are Very Concerned to 43%of Women. Women are somewhat more concerned about their personal financial situation with 48% saying they are Very Concerned compared with 44% of men.
Generation Y is very concerned: Nearly half (46%) say they are Very Concerned about both the financial situation facing the US. and their own person financial situation. A third (33%) is Moderately Concerned about the country’s financial situation compared to 27% Moderately Concerned about their personal financial situation. Another 24% say they are either Somewhat Concerned (19%) or Not At All Concerned (5%) about their personal financial situation; 3% are Not Sure. Eighteen percent say they are Somewhat Concerned (16%) or Not At All Concerned (2%) about the country’s financial situation with 4% being Not Sure.
Millennials are not at all confident that political leaders can solve the financial issues facing the country today. Nearly half (46%) say they are Not At All Confident, 27% are Somewhat Confident, 14% are Moderately Confident and only 6% say they are Very Confident that leaders can solve these issues. The remaining 7% are Not Sure. Low levels of confidence in political leaders is a theme that rings loud and clear among many groups in the U.S., especially after the highly intense conflict over the debt ceiling debate last month. However, most Millennials were not following the debate of the debt ceiling very closely. Only 18% say they were following it Very Closely, and only 27% self-report that they know how their members of Congress voted on the debt ceiling legislation.
Not only is confidence in political leaders’ ability to solve economic problems low among Millennials, they also have very low levels of overall political trust in political leaders and demonstrate low levels of political efficacy. These low ratings of trust and efficacy however, are not dramatically out of line with how the public as a whole feels. Only 18% of Millennials trust the government in Washington to do what is right Always (4%) or Most of the Time (14%); 15% feel they can Always (5%) or Most of the Time (10%) have an impact on decisions made by their leaders in Washington. These levels are similar to the views held by most people in the US. today. Using the same question wording, recent Gallup Polls put the level of trust at 19% (percent saying Always or Most of the Time).
Millennials identifying themselves as Democrats tend to have the highest level of confidence (31%say Very or Moderately Confident); 15% of Independents and Republicans say the same compared with 9% of Tea Party supporters.
There is not a clear consensus among Millennials on who they trust most to handle economic problems in the U.S. Less than a quarter (22%) say they trust President
Obama the most, 14%say Republicans in Congress, 12% say Democrats in Congress, 6% say Tea Party supporters in Congress, 37% say they are Not Sure who they trust and 9% gave other responses from Jesus to Ron Paul, to Santa Claus. The party affiliation
of the Millennials naturally had some impact on who they are most likely to trust: Self-identified Democrats are most likely to trust President Obama (37%), Republicans are most likely to trust Republicans in Congress (47%) and Independents were most likely not to know who to trust (49%).
• 40% of the Millennials report that they voted in the 2010 midterm congressional elections;
• 57% say that they will Definitely Vote in the 2012 presidential election and congressional election
• 41%think they will be Better Off one year from now, 38% say they will be About the Same, 11% think they will be Worse Off and 11%are Not Sure. A Pew Research Center survey in June, 2011 found that 56%of the overall American public thought their personal financial situation would improve over the next year, 28% thought it would get worse and 13%thought their personal financial situation would stay about the same.
• 33% of Millennials self-identify as Democrats, 34% as Independents, 22% as Republicans, 2% as Tea Party, and 8% with some other party.
• There are no statistically significant differences among the various age groups on these questions.
• Millennials are not optimistic about what their economic future may bring;
• Millennials are not sure to whom they should entrust their economic future;
• Millennials trust our governmental leaders at about the same rate as the public as a whole;
• Millennial views do not vary by the age group within the Millennial generation as a whole;