Race, Ethnicity, and the Financial Lives of Young Adults
Despite being the most diverse group in the nation’s history, today’s young adults are often viewed as a monolithic group. A detailed look at their financial health tells a different story, however. Young adults of color, particularly those who are Black and Latinx, have borne a disproportionate share of economic hardship, as decades of systemic racism have made their communities more vulnerable to the effects of these crises. This report shares new data on the financial lives of young adults, focusing on Black and Latinx young adults, in order to inform policies, programs, and solutions that can improve financial health for all.

Thea Garon, Senior Director, Financial Health Network
Cathy Cohen, Professor and Founder/Director, The GenForward Survey
Karla Henriquez, Senior Associate, Financial Health Network
Matthew Fowler, Postdoctoral Scholar, The GenForward Survey
Jonathan Lykes, Director of Programs and Partnerships, The GenForward Survey/BYP

Top Takeaways

On average, Black and Latinx young adults have less liquid savings than their White and Asian American peers, leaving them with a smaller financial cushion for unexpected expenses.

Black and Latinx young adults are more likely than White and Asian American young adults to say they have unmanageable and high-cost debt, hindering their ability to access low-cost debt and build wealth.

The enduring racial wealth gap has denied Black and Latinx young adults the ability to build wealth through generational transfers from their family.

There is a confidence gap between Latinx young adults and their Black, White, and Asian American peers about their long-term financial goals and insurance coverage.

Data Spotlight

Black and Latinx young people are less likely than their White and Asian American peers to be considered Financially Healthy. Disparities across nearly all of the eight indicators are driving differences in financial health outcomes among young adults.


Our Partners

This report is based on data collected through the GenForward Survey housed at the University of Chicago, a nationally representative survey of more than 3,000 young adults ages 18-36 that considers how race and ethnicity influence the lives of young adults.