WASHINGTON – A recent survey suggests that the recession has affected the Millennial Generation's economic status,their attitudes toward education and their outlook on their future.
Ninety-two million Americans ages 7 to 28 compose the Millennial Generation,also identified as Generation Y. According to the U.S. census,Millennials are the country's largest and most diverse generation – 41 percent are minorities.
Last month,Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll randomly surveyed 1,021 adult Millennials via the Internet about their attitudes and economic experiences.
The poll,sponsored by Allstate Corp. and the National Journal and supervised by FD,a communications strategy consulting firm,is the fifth installment of a survey to better understand the country's middle class. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
The recession may be responsible for what many Millennials view as an unstable financial foundation. Forty percent of Millennials described their financial status as just getting by,with little left over for savings or investments.
While half of Millennials say they are able to support themselves,nearly 40 percent said they regularly receive financial help from parents or other relatives to meet ordinary expenses. A third of Millennials say they live with parents or other relatives.
The poll revealed Millennials are now thinking twice about post-secondary education. The recession has likely caused a shift in the option of relying on parental support for post-secondary schooling,said Ed Riley,FD's chief executive officer,at a press conference Wednesday.
He said taking on education and consumer debt makes it difficult for Millennials “to start with a strong financial footing.”
While more than half of Millennials have completed or are attending post-high school educational programs,46 percent of Millennials view a four-year degree as an expensive,debt-incurring economic burden. Fifty-five percent of employed Millennials say they could perform their jobs just as well with less education.
The survey revealed that more than half of Millennials believe the country has yet to see the worst of the economic meltdown. Sixty-one percent think the recession will leave a lasting effect on their generation,and about the same number say they won't surpass their parents' standard of living.
Labor Department Chief Economist Jesse Rothstein legitimized these concerns.
“There's increasing evidence that people who graduate [from] college or high school in recessions earn less,have higher unemployment rates,have worse jobs in various measures,for many years after that,” he said. “It may last for 10 years,it may last many years after that.”
The survey did yield some optimistic results. The recession seems to have inspired fiscal awareness and responsibility in the Millennial population. On average,poll participants said they should start saving for retirement at age 25. Additionally,when presented with a hypothetical amount of $100 to spend or save,the majority of Millennials opted to either save the money in a bank or pay off debt.