Census Data Shows Record Number of Young Adults Struggle to Find Work


September 22, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – New data has been released from the 2010 Census data showing a record number of young adults are struggling to take traditional “milestone” steps, such as marriage or home-ownership.



Young adults are suffering the highest unemployment rate since WW II, and risk living in poverty more than other demographics at a rate of nearly one in five, the AP is reporting.

The new figures also show a rebound in the foreign-born population to 40 million, or 12.9%, the highest share since 1920. The 1.4 million increase from 2009 was the biggest since the mid-decade housing boom.

Most immigrants continue to be low-skilled workers from Latin America, with growing numbers from Asia also arriving hoping to find work. An estimated 11.2 million immigrants are here illegally, according to the AP. 

Seniors 65 and older are staying in the workforce later in life than ever before, accounting for slow employment gains in recent months.  The AP says approximately one in six older Americans is now in the labor force—the highest level since the 1960s, before Social Security and Medicare benefits made it more attractive to retire.

Nationwide, employment among young adults ages 16-29 stood at 55.3%, down from 67.3% in 2000 and the lowest since the end of World War II. Young males who lack a college degree—most common among black and Hispanic youth—were most likely to lose jobs due to reduced demand for blue-collar jobs in construction, manufacturing, and transportation during the downturn. Among teens, employment was less than 30%.

The new Census data also revealed that in the past year, 43 of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas continued to post declines in employment, led by Charlotte, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Florida, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Detroit—all cities experiencing a severe housing bust, budget deficits or meltdowns in industries such as banking or manufacturing.

Among adults 18-34, the share of long-distance moves across state lines fell last year to roughly 3.2 million people, or 4.4%, the lowest level since World War II. For college graduates, who historically are more likely to relocate out of state, long-distance moves dipped to 2.4%.