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Idea of the Day: Millennials Need a Middle-Out Economy

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The American economy is not working for Millennials. The generation of young people born between roughly 1980 and 2000—an estimated 70 million individuals—is facing double-digit unemployment rates, low wages, mounting college costs, and crippling student-loan debt. When previous generations were between the ages of 18 and 33, they knew that by working hard and playing by the rules they could eventually achieve a good middle-class life, which meant owning a home, supporting a family, paying for their children’s college education, saving for retirement, and even taking a vacation now and then. But for the many Millennials today who are struggling to get by, the dream of a middle-class life is increasingly out of reach. Rebuilding our economy from the middle out—not from the top down—is central to creating an American economy that works for Millennials.

A new CAP report outlines six key economic challenges facing Millennials and offers policies to create opportunities for this generation of young Americans by expanding and strengthening the middle class—a middle-out approach. These six key economic challenges are:

  1. Creating jobs for young people
  2. Promoting good jobs
  3. Making college affordable
  4. Easing the burden of student-debt repayment
  5. Expanding access to postsecondary education and training
  6. Improving retirement security

For more on this topic, please see:

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Beatriz Lopez (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.741.6255 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or


This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here