Progress in America: A Millennial Perspective

Before We Get Into It

In the United States, the majority of people are living more comfortably and better off than at any point in the history of the world. However, there are still some critical gains that need to be made such as access to higher education and healthcare so that people have the ability to not only make the best of this position they have, but the American Dream of creating a better world for their families and others around the globe while also attaining and creating higher paying jobs.

Firstly, I’ll focus on Millennials here because they are the second largest voting bloc in the United States, next to Baby Boomers only. They’re a lot older than most people believe. Being born between 1981 and 1996, which includes myself, can be as old as 38, according to the Pew Research Center – which I will be citing in this first portion most often.

Also, more Millennials are living in poverty than any other. Which is interesting seeing as they also “dominate the ranks of the nation’s renters and have since 2016 single mothers as household heads than any other generation. All of these issues are stacked against what has effectively become the “Burnout Generation.”

If you’re interested in the general statistics of poverty, those follow:

The General Numbers

All of these numbers are from 2017 unless noted otherwise. This information is also from TalkPoverty. TalkPoverty has all the sources for the below points, however, those italicized did not fit my criteria of easily accessible and will be updated to reflect that criteria at a later date. Regarding information on global poverty, WorldVision has put together its own information.

Poverty Rates

Overall Poverty Rate: 12.3% (39.7 million people)

Percentage of people who fell below the poverty line—$24,860 for a family of four.

Twice the Poverty Level: 29.7% (95.7 million people)

Percentage of people who fell below twice the poverty line—$49,720 for a family of four.

Half the Poverty Level: 5.7% (18.5 million people)

Percentage of people who fell below half the poverty line—$12,430 for a family of four.

Child Poverty Rate: 17.5% (12.8 million people)

Percentage of children under age 18 who fell below the poverty line.

Women’s Poverty Rate: 13.6% (22.3 million people)

Percentage of females who fell below the poverty line.

African American Poverty Rate: 21.2% (9.0 million people)

Percentage of African Americans who fell below the poverty line.

Hispanic Poverty Rate: 18.3% (10.8 million people)

Percentage of Hispanics who fell below the poverty line.

White Poverty Rate: 8.7% (17.0 million people)

Percentage of non-Hispanic Whites who fell below the poverty line.

Native American Poverty Rate: 25.4% (700,000 people)

Percentage of Native Americans who fell below the poverty line.

People with Disabilities Poverty Rate: 24.9% (3.8 million people)

Percentage of people with disabilities ages 18 to 64 who fell below the poverty line.

Creating Good Jobs

Income Inequality: 16.6%

Ratio of the share of income going to the top 20% and bottom 20% of households.

High School Graduation Rate: 84.1%

Percentage of high school students who graduated on time at the end of the 2015-16 school year

Disconnected Youth: 13%

Percentage of youth ages 18 to 24 who were not in school or working in 2016.

Higher Education Attainment Rate: 44.7%

Percentage of young adults ages 25 to 34 who had an associate’s degree or higher.

Gender Wage Gap: 80.8 cents

Median earnings of full-time year-round working women compared to that of men.

Unemployment Rate: 4.4%

Percentage of all workers who were unemployed.

Unemployment Insurance Coverage: 27.4%

Percentage of unemployed workers who received unemployment insurance.

Strengthening Families and Communities

Children Living Apart from Parents: 6

Number of children who lived in foster care for every 1,000 children under age 18 in 2016.

Teen Birth Rate: 20.3

Number of births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19 in 2016.

Promoting Family Economic Security

Hunger and Food Insecurity: 12.3%

Percentage of households who were food insecure on average from 2015 to 2017, meaning that at some point during the year, they experienced difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of money or resources.

Affordable and Available Housing: 56

Number of apartments or other units that were affordable and available for every 100 renter households with very low incomes in 2016. Very low-income households are those with incomes at or below 50% of the area median income.

Savings and Assets: 7.7%

Percentage of households that used high-cost, high-risk forms of credit to make ends meet during 2015. This includes payday loans, automobile title loans, refund anticipation loans, rent-to-own, and pawning.

Lack of Health Insurance Coverage: 17.5%

Percentage of people under age 65 and below 138% of the poverty line who did not have health insurance at all.

What A Millennial Wants

Millennials aren’t just calling out to everyone they can to fight the climate crisis and trying to call them in on the issues I put in bold first and foremost: education and healthcare. They’re also fighting strongly on social media and their relationships for themselves and others: racial justice. And that’s because besides the obvious, Trump, almost half of Americans are unable to afford food and rent, and in order to find an escape they’re going online, and unfortunately, Right-wing outlets reign supreme in places like Facebook, and bully online to do so.

However, this means that people are being tuned into the propaganda of the Right, which has been shown to radicalize violent individuals. Which is nothing new, and I reported on the entry-memes and the fascism not too long ago. All of which is ultimately exciting for the billionaire, elitist, donor, ruling class, another topic I cover elsewhere.

Once people, especially white ones, are indoctrinated, they act as a wonderful human shield to make it harder to find the really dangerous terrorists hanging out amongst them in real life and on forums. I say especially white ones because they can be inflamed by news such as CNN’s very recent update that “[w]hite deaths outpace white births in more than 50% of states, and by 2045 the U.S. population will be less than half-white. How does this play out politically?” Well, it plays out that white people ignore that everyone, and especially people are color, are effected by things like, another report that CNN put out, the declining “middle class.”

So there’s a lot of issues that are directly pressing to millennials, and why you’ll see less of my generation in these white nationalist groups, however, if and when you do there are usually some pretty clear signs that they are dealing with a comorbidity of mental health issues. These issues may be a form of PTSD, autism, antisocial behaviors, paranoia, and even the big scaries: narcissistic personality disorder, sociopathy, and psychopathy, as well as obvious violent tendencies. Oftentimes, these young white men have no access to mental health care, or are unwilling due to stigmatization, and they’re being indoctrinated by the “free speech movement” and “gun rights” in colleges as well as in video game and online chat rooms and forums.

There are a lot of better candidates to tackle these serious issues than Trump. 45 has arguably, and I do here, who was put up by big business and the white supremacist army, his “base,” is used as the human shields to defend him. Millennials, “the game” according to PBS NewsHour, are far more interested in less establishment candidates such as Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, Elizabeth Warren, and most obviously, Bernie Sanders.

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