At no point in recent history has life been harder for America’s young people. The Youth Misery Index adds together youth unemployment, average graduating student debt (in thousands), and national debt per capita (in thousands).
Youth unemployment is at 17.4 percent—one of the highest levels since World War II. Average graduating student debt has reached a record-breaking $26,300. National debt per capita is $46,900—the highest ever. Add it up, and the Youth Misery Index comes out to 90.6 (17.4 + 26.3 + 46.9 = 90.6).
What does this number mean? Like Jimmy Carter’s Misery Index, the YMI uncovers some real threats to our nation’s prosperity. The government is largely responsible for all three problems, and we’ve found a statistically significant relationship between government expenditures and the Youth Misery Index. Each indicator can be tied to government actions.
To fix these problems, young people must become more active; we cannot expect policy makers in Washington to fight these battles for us.