Who are Black Millennials? The Pew Research Center’s definition of the millennial generation, which includes people between the ages of 18 and 34. Population data from the U.S. Census Bureau project that the “millennial” generation will surpass the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) in population size in 2015. The millennial generation’s population increase—to approximately 75.3 million in 2015—is due in large part to increasing number of immigrants.
The Pew Research Center describes millennials as “America’s most racially diverse generation.” About 40% of millennials are non-white, including about 19% who identify as Latino or Hispanic, about 13% who identify as Black or African American and about 6% identifying as Asian American. Based on immigration and birth rates, people of color are projected to comprise a majority of the millennial generation within several decades.
Millennials are also considerably more likely than older generations to identify as LGBT: 6.4% of young people ages 18 to 29 identify as LGBT, compared with 3.2% of adults between the ages of 30 and 44. Millennials overwhelmingly live in or near urban areas. Only about 14% of millennials live in rural areas, while 54% live in suburban areas and 32% live in central cities.
Millennials also face unique economic challenges. Among millennial households, the median household pre-tax income was $35,300, or nearly 20% lower than the median household income of $43,900 for young adults in 2001 (adjusted for inflation). Approximately one in five millennials (19.7%) lives in poverty, compared with 14.1% of young people who lived in poverty in 1980.
Millennials are less connected with traditional institutions than earlier generations. Approximately 29% of millennials are religiously unaffiliated, compared with only 21% of Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and 16% of Baby Boomers.
Millennials are also marrying at lower rates than earlier generations. About 28% of millennials are married, while 38% of Generation X and 49% of Baby Boomers were married at the same age. In this week’s unit the goal is to understand how the millennial experience varies across racial groups, with a particular focus on Black millennial experiences. To do so, comparisons and contrasts are made between Black millennials and young white and Latino adults. The comparisons and contrasts that are presented will further your knowledge about Black millennials, but will also provide greater insight into how lived experiences, attitudes and behaviors vary across racial groups (Black Youth Project).
Read the following pages from the report: Black Millennials in America: Documenting the experiences, voices and political future of young Black AmericansPreview the document Overview p. 5-6 Economics p. 2-8 Education p. 9-18 Jobs and Unemployment p. 61-62 You now have a statistical picture of what the labor market experiences are for Black young workers. Your reading also notes that unemployment rates are only a piece of the picture. Read the following Washington Post article entitled, “Young black men face daunting odds in life. These programs can help”Preview the document then answer the following questions below.
1. Unemployment rates vary considerably across racial groups based on research conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This low rate of employment can be attributed to what major factors? Please identify these factors and explain how each one impacts employment for Black youth.
2. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, college attendance rates among Black youth have increased over the last decade.
At the same time, however, increases in college enrollment among Black youths have not eliminated the disparity between white and Black college graduates. Black youth experience significantly larger financial burdens than white youth. How does this financial burden then impact economic mobility after graduation? Please list at least two reasons and explain each one in detail. [Economic mobility is defined as the ability of an individual, family or some other group to improve (or lower) their economic status—usually measured in income.]
3. High unemployment rates and comparatively high rates of workplace discrimination among Black youth translate into differences in support for federal policies around jobs. Explain why. Do not just provide your opinion. Use data from this week’s readings and others of your choice to validate your response.
4. In the Washington Post article, “Young black men face daunting odds in life. These programs can help,” written by Emily Badger (2015), she discusses challenges (barriers) that many young Black males face due to the environment at which they live. List and explain three of these challenges (barriers).
5. Argument One – Policymakers have increasingly rallied around early childhood interventions that might alter the life trajectories of young Black boys. Argument Two – Research into several novel new programs shows that early intervention isn’t the only answer. And if we scaled up more such interventions — in tandem with reforms to some of the barriers built in to the job market for these men — we might dent a problem that has fueled unrest in cities like Baltimore.
You have been presented with two very different reactions to the labor crisis affecting young Black males. State which argument you support and why. Use data to support your reasoning. (There is no right or wrong answer to this question)
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