Debt Amongst American Youth: Mixed Economic Outcomes

The Pew Research Centre reports that the proportion young people who own homes went down to 34% in 2011 compared to 40% in 2001. Also in 2011, only 66% of people aged 25 years or younger owned or leased a car compared to 73% of young people in 2001.

Good news is that credit card debt is down to 39% in 2010, in comparison to 50% of youth who had credit debt in 2001. Bad news is that student loan debt rose from 34% in 2007 to 40% in 2010. Then again, debt trends are mixed, as the median debt for young people is now $14,102, which is around $1,000 less than in 2007. These patterns reflect a shift in economic priorities after the recession as well as broader changes in society that include delayed marriage, which impacts on household formation and spending. 

International Public Image of the USA

The Pew Research Centre’s Global Attitudes Project finds that humanitarian aid has a limited effect on improving the USA’s international image around the world. For example, in 2011, 85% of the 700 Japanese people who were surveyed reported a favourable view of America versus 66% of the Japanese participants in 2010. While the Pew Centre acknowledges that various reasons might contribute to an increased positive view of the USA, it seemed that America’s humanitarian commitment had a big impact in Japan. Then again, while the Pew Centre finds that America’s overseas aid improves its image in some countries, the link between humanitarianism and public goodwill is limited.

In Indonesia, the USA’s image improved in 2005, a couple of months after it delivered aid in the Banda Aceh region after a devastating tsunami. This positive view was not as strong as it was prior to the Second Gulf War.

In Pakistan, the USA’s public image improved modestly after it delivered aid to Northern Pakistan after a major earthquake in 2005, but this public image slipped again just one year later. By 2010, public goodwill towards the USA had slipped even further, despite America pledging humanitarian assistance following the floods.

Richard Wike, Associate Director for the Pew Global Attitudes Project writes:

The lesson for disaster relief efforts is that they are more likely to have a significant effect on public attitudes in countries where there is at least a reservoir of goodwill toward the U.S. In nations such as Pakistan, where countervailing issues and deeply held suspicions drive intense anti-Americanism, enhancing America’s image through humanitarian aid may prove considerably more difficult.

Read more about the surveys here.