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The Frightening Financial Crisis Facing Young Americans

Young Americans are falling deeper and deeper into a financial crisis that will be nearly impossible to escape from in their lifetimes.

Unfortunately, the problems start at a very young age. Not only do a record number of school-age children live in poverty, but the number of homeless children in the public school system has reached an all-time high.

Even young adults who are able to attend college have trouble supporting themselves after graduation. Students take on mountains of debt to pay for school, but all too many of them can't find a decent job that covers their bills and their loans.

And those who do find jobs will likely be working for many more years than previous generations. That's because Social Security is expected to run out well before today's youngest workers retire. Those who have failed to save enough will end up working into their 60s, 70s and 80s.

"We don't know how the story ends, but we know how the story is beginning," Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center, told CNN. "At the beginning, today's young people are not doing better than yesterday's young adults."

Here are 14 startling statistics painting a bleak financial picture for many young Americans.

The Financial Crisis Facing America's Youth:

More U.S. Households are Living in Poverty:

  • For the first time ever, more than 1 million public school students are homeless.
  • 37% of families with a head of household under 30 live in poverty, defined as income of $23,000 or below for a family of four, according to the U.S. census bureau.
  • One in five, or approximately 15 million children, live in poverty; and 57% of children live in poverty or in a "low-income" household, with income less than $46,000 for a family of four.
  • About half of American children are expected to use food stamps by the time they're 20.

More Young Americans are Unemployed:

  • Half of college graduates under 25 are either unemployed or underemployed, meaning they are overqualified for a job or want to work full-time and instead are working part-time.
  • The unemployment rate for those 16-24 is 16.8%, and for ages 16-19 it's 23.4%, the highest rate of any age group in the U.S.
  • The proportion of youths employed is at its lowest level since World War II, with about half of those 16-24 working.

More Americans are in Debt:

  • 40% of Americans under 30 have student loan debt, and the average student loan balance for all ages was $24,300 as of October 2012.
  • Of the 20 million Americans who attend college every year, 60% take out loans, and nearly 30% of those who borrow for school drop out.
  • The national debt is $16.4 trillion, which translates to $52,300 per person. It increases by more than $100 million every hour.

More Uncertainty Surrounds Retirement in America:

The Social Security Trust Fund is expected to run out by 2037. That's when a current 25-year old worker, born in 1987, will turn 50. When the fund is depleted benefits will be reduced and eventually stopped altogether unless something is done to fix the system.

More Americans Blame Money for Not Reaching Life Goals:

  • Roughly 53% of Americans 18-24 are living with their parents, and a recent survey found that 85% of college seniors say they plan to move back home after graduation.
  • In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.
  • More young people find they can't afford to get married, and only 44.2% of Americans ages 25-34 are married, an all-time low.

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Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. dourdan | February 4, 2013

    you will change all that twenty two thousand times by the time i am deceased

  2. D.Schaedle | February 4, 2013

    All these ARE financial and all DO represent our childrens future … maybe a movement …

  3. quintus | February 11, 2013

    What's the solution?

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