Millennials are the largest, most diverse generation in the United States. That’s a fact from this week's report from the Council on Economic Advisers on the extraordinary progress our young people are making in this country. Latino millennials have contributed to this advancement significantly, and they will likely make up the majority of young people in the coming years.
Latino youth have already made important gains. The Hispanic high school dropout rate has been cut by more than half from 28% in 2000 to less than 13% in 2012, and more young people as a whole, especially women, are earning college degrees than ever before. The number of Hispanic students enrolled in college jumped by 45 percent from 2008 to 2012, with over a million Hispanic students enrolled today. The Hispanic unemployment rate has dropped, and poverty rates have dropped significantly for the first time since 2006.
It will only get better from here.
Millennials are more likely to have healthcare today without being job-locked, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the number of Latinos with insurance coverage has surged. College student Jennifer Molina said, when she got coverage for the first time, “This is particularly important to the well-being of my friends and family, because Hispanic-Americans are more likely to be uninsured than any other racial or ethnic group.”
Today’s report highlights President Obama’s visit with entrepreneurs, technologists and other creative innovators in Los Angeles – young people who are shaping the new American economy. Millennials have come a long way since the Great Recession and are now more diverse and educated than any other generation.
Although young people still face new challenges, the President is confident we can tackle these headwinds together as a country. This progress starts with basic steps. Let’s raise the minimum wage to help young people transitioning into the workforce. Around a quarter of those would benefit from legislation that would raise the wage to $10.10 are Hispanic.
We also need to help alleviate student loan debt, the burden saddling too many millennials just graduating from school. Let’s expand educational opportunities, especially for young Latinos, so that they have the tools to succeed and empower their communities. To work towards that goal, President Obama recently launched the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, an effort to encourage local communities to implement a coherent cradle-to-college and career strategy aimed at improving life outcomes for all young people.
But ultimately, the promise of America’s future and strong middle class rests in the hopes and dreams of our young people. Latino youth exemplify that promise – if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to succeed no matter the circumstances of your birth.
Check out the findings from this week's report in this infographic (featuring Millennial-friendly emoji), and pass it on. And to read more about the President’s accomplishments for the Hispanic community, click HERE.
Katherine Vargas serves as the Director of Hispanic Media at the White House.