From the report:

The GenForward Survey is the first of its kind—a nationally representative survey of over 1,750 young adults ages 18–34 conducted bimonthly that pays special attention to how race and ethnicity influence how young adults or Millennials experience and think about the world. Given the importance of race and ethnicity for shaping the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of young people, we believe researchers make a mistake when they present data on young adults in a manner that assumes a monolithic Millennial generation and young adult vote.

Millennials now represent the largest generation of Americans, and they are by far the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in the country. About 19% of millennials identify as Latino or Hispanic, 13% as Black or African American, and 6% as Asian American. Thus, to fully understand how young adults think about elections and politicians, issues such as terrorism or gun violence, as well as their economic futures and race relations, we apply an intersectional lens and pay attention to characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.

In this report, we present GenForward survey data collected between April 14 and May 1, 2017. We provide an extensive look at the economic lives of Millennials, with an emphasis on the importance of race and ethnicity in structuring the economic opportunities, challenges, and outlooks of young people in America today.

Key findings:

  • Throughout our report African Americans and Latino/as consistently report significantly greater economic vulnerability than whites and Asian Americans.
  • White and Asian American Millennials employed in full-time positions receive more benefits from their employer than African American and Latino/a Millennials.
  • African American and Latino/a Millennials indicate that they would have the most difficulty paying an unexpected bill and report greater insecurity about their employment prospects.
  • African American and Latino/a young adults are far less likely than whites and Asian Americans to have basic but fundamental tools for managing one’s finances like bank accounts and credit cards.
  • Millennials of color, especially African American young adults, report using alternative banking establishments that are more costly, like check-cashing services, than white Millennials.
  • White and Asian American young adults tend to have more money in savings than credit card debt.
  • A plurality of Millennials have no retirement savings and most lack confidence in the future of Social Security. At the same time, many say that they plan to rely on Social Security for their retirement.
  • Many Millennials are ambivalent about the American economy—for example, 68% of all Millennials say it is not common for someone who starts poor to become rich through hard work. Yet, a large majority of all Millennials (77%) also say they are optimistic about their own personal future.
  • White Millennials are less likely than African American, Asian American, and Latino/a Millennials to believe that they themselves will do better than their parents.

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