The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) recently released a publication entitled “Supporting Young Adults through a Guaranteed Income.” Authored by Senior Policy Analyst Alexander Coccia, the publication focuses upon the need for young adults to have robust economic support.

Young adulthood, specifically the ages of 18 to 25, is a crucial transition period for foundational life changes: constructing career paths, forming families, completing education, and handling new financial responsibilities. A flourishing American society is contingent upon the assurance that young people can pursue such goals and communal contributions, however, many young people face systemic barriers and economic hardships that block them from this trajectory.

Although some young adults are afforded the opportunity to receive the continued support of family and intergenerational wealth, there are many, specifically young adults of color and of minority groups, that have been disproportionately excluded from this due to decades of systemic racism, lack of community investment, and other barriers to affluence. “The 2015 overall median net worth of young adult households was $29,000. But White 18–25-year-olds held 16 times the wealth of their Black peers—$46,000 and $2,900, respectively.” All young adults, regardless of their background or time spent in the child welfare system, should have the appropriate resources they need to successfully transition into adulthood.

A guaranteed income and access to cash will assist young adults in meeting their basic needs while navigating all sectors of education, work, family, and other responsibilities. This guaranteed income, through the proposed concept, would include being:

  • Co-Created: Young adults would participate in developing the policy
  • Inclusive: All young adults who need it would be eligible
  • Unconditional: Recipients would not be subject to any requirements to receive it
  • Unrestricted: Recipients can use the funds to meet needs in the way they know best
  • Automatic: The benefit would be easily accessible by being paid automatically

In the effort to improve the livelihood of all young adults, a guaranteed income would establish a safety net program for them to meet their basic needs and establish transformative paths for their families and communities.

By Erin Weiss, Policy Intern