Americans Think Kids Have It Bad — Really Bad

A recent Gallup poll showed that 56 percent of Americans believe that our youth have a dark future ahead, worse than their parents. This level of pessimism hasn’t been recorded since 1983.

With a stagnating economy, unemployment and debt rising astronomically among Americans, kids today may face a more austere future.

Student Loan Debt

While more and more Americans are enrolling in universities and colleges, they’re also getting into deeper debt.

For the first time in our history, the student loan debt has jettisoned past credit card debt, making it the top debt burden in our country. College graduates last year not only got their diplomas, but they also got an average of $24,000 in student loans. And they’re stuck with that debt for the next 20 years, which means by the time their kids graduate from college, they’ll still be paying off their debt.


A college education is supposed to guarantee jobs, right? Not so. Almost nine percent of college graduates are unemployed. That is close to the average unemployment rate nationwide.

The unemployment numbers are only exacerbated by the slow crawl of job creation.


And if a graduate does find a job, chances are she’s overqualified. Of re-employed workers who lost jobs during the recession, 54 percent of them feel they are overqualified for the jobs they have now; only 34% say they have the right qualifications.

Compare that to the number of workers with a Bachelor’s degree in positions that don’t require a college education:

  • 18,000 parking lot attendants
  • 317,000 restaurant servers
  • 24.5 percent of retail salespeople
  • 365,000 cashiers

Take Action: Sign the petition to tell President Obama to stimulate the economy by forgiving student debt.

Related Stories:

Youthful Enthusiasm Leaves Grads Jobless

Student Debt For College Likely To Exceed a Trillion Dollars

The Trials of the Twenty-Somethings


Photo credit: Blake Campbell


jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago


Brenda Towers
Brenda T7 years ago

So why aren't they doing something about it?

Rosie Lopez
Rosie L7 years ago

forgiving the debt is like saying lets stop paying teachers

Emily Anne G.
Emily Anne G7 years ago

It's true that the future is not going to be easy - the economy and unemployment rate will get worse before they get better. But my main concern is more about our mindsets than the situation we'll be tossed into once we turn eighteen. Not many teenagers will tell you they're ready to be an adult. I've gathered that you're supposed to be cautious and wary. But what I've realized is that most teenagers really AREN'T ready to accept that kind of responsibility - I know of eighteen and nineteen year olds who can't hold down a boyfriend for three weeks, never mind a job. In general, we demand want we want, and throw a giant fit when we can't get it. We're toddlers, only taller. I'll sit in history class and have a debate with my teacher about politics....and when I look around, I only see people applying makeup and telling lewd stories. I understand that's part of being a teenager, but at sixteen, seventeen years old, it's time to start becoming an adult. Most kids don't understand that - nor do they want to.

Jami Winn
Jami W7 years ago

how can someone be "overqualified" thats got to be the stupidest thing i ever heard of

Don Go
Don G7 years ago

I guess I'm cynical more than pessimistic. I see a dark future, but I think we will adapt...hopefully.

caterina caligiuri
caterina c7 years ago

Signed thanks

April Thompson
April Thompson7 years ago

Signed! I am one of those with student loans that I don't think I will ever be able to repay at all or even before I die!

Danielle Herie
Danielle Herie7 years ago


Tiffany Derichsweiler
Tiffany D7 years ago

I agree that it only seems to get worse. But poverty is not always the horrible fate it seems to be. Im poor. I've always been poor. But as long as there is food to eat and a roof to sleep under its always been easy to be happy and content. But maybe thats due to my stable, loving home life I was brought up in.