A new poll has revealed that America's young generation (18 to 29 years old) is postponing getting married and starting families because of the current economic hardships gripping the country. Some have suggested that the government should consider allowing businesses more freedom to create jobs for young Americans.
"These issues we have identified in the poll and the responses back are the key motivators for voting behavior for 2012. For candidates who don't understand the day-to-day impact the economy is having on people, and they key decisions that they are delaying, we think that they really are not in touch with what is going on out there in the country," said Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor, in a phone interview with The Christian Post.
The The poll was conducted by Generation Opportunity, which describes itself as the nation's largest nonprofit, non-partisan organization engaging and mobilizing young Americans.
Among the statistics, it was found that 89 percent of young Americans believe that the current state of the economy is impacting their day-to-day lives, and 84 percent said they have been forced to push back some major decisions in life due to the economy.
Generation Opportunity's survey considered the national unemployment rate of 8.7 percent from July, noting that the jobless rate was actually higher among Americans 18 to 29 years old – at 12.7 percent.
People cut corners and saved money in a variety of different ways – about half (51 percent) said that they were forced to downsize their entertainment budget, while many others also had to hold off on spending more on groceries or large social events like weddings. Among more important decisions, 38 percent of respondents said they could not currently afford a home, 31 percent said they had to postpone starting a family, and 23 percent said that they had to hold off on getting married.
The numbers are actually higher than the same data Generation Opportunity collected last year, where 23 percent of respondents said they would delay starting a family and 18 percent said they would hold back on getting married.
In terms of the government's role in today's economy, Conway noted that based on the survey data and direct contact with people, which has included speaking with over a quarter million young Americans in the past year, some actually believe that the government needs to do less.
"What they mean by that is that they believe that government should get out of the way of those who have the courage and personal initiative and the means to create jobs and to expand businesses," Conway told CP. "They think right now that the government through regulation is actually limiting a lot of the opportunities that are out there for young people, especially in terms of policy."
Conway warned that the current economic state of the country will definitely impact people and their families for decades.
"Unlike any other issues in 2012, the issue of the lack of opportunity for young people to find long-term meaningful work is actually impacting the culture because you are not having more families come together. The decision to delay children is something that impacts people for decades, not just in terms of the individual but also in terms of the country," he said.
In a press release, Conway added: "These numbers should put elected leaders on notice."
"What you see is a very pointed story of the impact the failed policies coming out of the White House over the course of the last three years are having on the daily lives and the long-term plans of young Americans. Frankly, it is not a pretty picture – millions of young Americans are paying the price, in a very personal way, for failed leadership and failed policies."
The former Labor Department official noted that young people know that they can influence who gets elected for office at least with their votes, which is something that elected officials need to consider. Another notable statistic in the poll was that only 38 percent of respondents believe that today's political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans, although 76 percent of respondents plan to vote in the November presidential elections.
The Generation Opportunity survey was conducted July 27-31, 2012 and sampled 1,003 American adults aged 18-29 nationwide.