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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Recession Has Hit Young Hardest, Pew Study Finds

A "kinder, gentler" recession for senior citizens has been less kind and less gentle to young adults, who say that have cut back on spending the most of any group surveyed, according to a study by the Pew Research Center just released.

According to the survey, 68 percent of 18-to-49-year-olds say they have cut back on spending in the past year, while 36 percent of those over 65 say the same. Retirees are likely to have more fixed costs than younger Americans.

Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of the 18-to-49ers say they've had trouble getting or affording medical care in the past year, compared to only 7 percent of those over 65, who are eligible for Medicare.

Nearly one-third (31 percent) of those over 65 say they are "very satisfied" with their financial situation, the most of any age group.

When it comes to losing money on investments, the young caught a break during this recession because, frankly, they didn't have any investments to begin with.

Among 18-to-29-year-olds, a whopping 71 percent said they've had no losses -- or no investments at all -- during the past year.

But coming in a close second was the 65+ group: 56 percent of those said they lost no money or had no investments.

Older and retired investors are more likely to have their money in low-return investments that won't lose money, such as certificates of deposit and bonds.

By contrast, the most worried age group in the survey are 50-to-64-year-olds -- those who are about to head into retirement. Forth-three percent say they lost at least 20 percent on their investments over the past year.

The recession is now in its 17th month.

The study, produced by former Post journalists Rich Morin and Paul Taylor, was conducted from Feb. 23 to March 23 of this year and was based on 2,969 interviews. Margin of sampling error is plus/minus 2.5 percent based on the total sample at 95 percent confidence level.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  May 14, 2009; 4:27 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Pew Research, recession  
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