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Millennials freaked out by economy, bad job market

Jenna Johnson

Millennials are worried about finishing college, being able to afford health care, paying the rent and keeping their job these days. A new poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics found that six in 10 young adults, ages 18 to 29, are worried about paying all of their bills and almost half were concerned about losing their job. Among undergraduates, about half are worried that the poor economy might force them to drop out of school and only 14 percent said it would be "easy" to find jobs after graduation.

This economic anxiety could translate into political action: The poll found that young Republicans plan to vote in higher numbers then Democrats and are showing more enthusiasm for the upcoming midterm election.

"Millions of young people are losing faith in government, politics and in many cases -- the American dream," said director of polling John Della Volpe in a statement. "Millennials are calling on government to follow through on the bright promise that a generation dedicated to public service has come to passionately believe in."

Other findings:

- Fewer than than half of Millennials are confident they can reach the "American Dream." When 18-29 year-olds reach their parent's age, less than half believe they will be better off financially.

- Almost half of all four-year undergraduates and nearly two-thirds of community college students are concerned about staying in college.

- When four-year college students were asked how easy or difficult it would be for members of their class to find jobs after graduation, only 14 percent said it would be "easy." More than eight in 10 indicated it would be "difficult." Two years ago in the spring of 2008, when this question was asked by our different polling partner, 30 percent of college students said it would be "easy" to find a job; in 2006, 37 percent and in 2004 31 percent said the same.

- A majority of 18-29 year-olds still approve of President Obama's job performance generally, but continue to disapprove of his handling of major issues.

- Since the institute last did a poll in November 2009, the number of 18-29 year-olds self-identifying as Independents grew six percentage points from 34 percent to 40 percent.

- When offered a choice, 51 percent of young adults said they believe that the "President and Congress should worry more about keeping the budget deficit down, even though it may mean it will take longer for the economy to recover."

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By Jenna Johnson  |  March 12, 2010; 7:58 AM ET
Categories:  News Overload  | Tags: Harvard  
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When I got out of school, there was a song "my future's so bright, I have to wear shades". It was sarcastic. The future was so dim that lawyers were tending bar to make ends meet. Things were uncertain but we did what we had to do. I had parents and grandparents who talked to me and at no point did I think the world was ending or that bad economy of the 80s could be compared to the Great Depression.
The point is not that I walked to school barefoot in the snow, but that there will always be periods of struggle.

Posted by: didnik | March 16, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

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