For young Americans, politics breaks the American dream instead of building it

September 14, 2023

Gen Z and millennials have high hopes for the future. Except when it comes to politics.

By Elena Moore

Gen Z and millennials have high hopes for the future. Except when it comes to politics.

That’s according to a new report exclusively obtained by NPR from the Sine Institute of Policy & Politics at American University, examining the goals and values of younger Americans today.

The survey of 1,568 adults between 18 and 34 found that young people are optimistic about their futures and envision becoming more successful than their parents. But they express more negativity when thinking about the effect the government and political system will have on their lives in the coming decades.

. . .

According to Reed Howard — the vice president of strategy and public affairs at the Millennial Action Project, which was a partner on the report — these issue priorities track with previous trends among young political leaders.

More than party affiliation, Howard says specific issues drive how young people get politically involved and decide which candidate to support.

“Young people are more connected to problem solvers who can address real issues in their lives than they are tied to a political party allegiance,” he said. “I think that’s going to shift how we do politics in the country. So people are going to reward problem solvers instead of finger pointers. And ultimately, I think that will lead to better results in our politics.”

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Rep. Sara Jacobs


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