Nearly one in seven adults young adults—between the ages of 18 and 34—in Washington State is unemployed, roughly one-quarter of us live in poverty, and those that are employed struggle with stagnant wages, mounting tuition costs, and reduced job support and access to health care, according to a new report released by the Washington State Budget and Policy Center. While this isn't particularly surprising news, it bears repeating: We are young and fucked—people of color predictably more so—and we'll continue to be fucked, even as we age, unless the state takes drastic action. (And, PSSSST: The state won't take action unless young adults bitch and VOTE and bitch some more.)
"It is crucial that policymakers start making the investments in education, health care, economic security and other supports that can help them recover and that will lay the groundwork for the state’s future prosperity," the report finds. "We must invest in 18- to 34-year olds just entering or trying to regain their footing in our slowly-recovering economy."
An example, in graph form:
Washington State Budget and Policy Center
From the report: "Wages for Washington state’s young adults tell two very different stories. For young men, annual wages (adjusted for inflation) have declined by more than 5 percent over the past 30 years. Young women, on the other hand, have seen a 30 percent increase, thanks in large part to dramatic rise in the number of hours they work and their rising education levels. Nonetheless, women who work full time earn approximately 76 percent what men earn. Even after accounting for education, the “wage gap” persists in every industry in the state."