American young adults are more racially and ethnically diverse, more likely to graduate from high school, and attend college, and less likely to smoke than previous generations, according to a report by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. However, the young adults have more student debt than generations past, earn less than their counterparts in the year 2000, and more than 1 in 5 are obese, the report says.
The findings are among those reported in a statistical collection by the forum titled, America's Young Adults: Special Issue, 2014. Young adults are identified as between the ages of 18–24.
The report includes data from nationally representative, federally sponsored surveys, summarized under five key themes: education, economic circumstances, family formation, civic, social, and personal behavior, and health and safety.
"This report is a rich snapshot of the health, education, and well-being of America's young adults," said Evelyn Kappeler, director of the Office of Adolescent Health. "Overall, we cheer the gains being made in education, but also note the need to address health concerns such as the smoking, obesity, and depression levels among this population."
According to the report, more young adults are graduating from high school and earning college degrees today than in 2000. In addition, the report found that among Hispanics in this age group, college enrollment during this time increased from 21.7 percent to 37.5 percent, the largest increase among all racial and ethnic groups.
Among other findings:
The forum consists of federal agencies seeking to foster coordination and collaboration in the collection and reporting of federal data on children, youth, and families. Together, they publish the annual report, America's Children: Key Indicators of Well-Being. In alternate years, the forum typically publishes an America's Children in Brief, which highlights a short selection from among the 41 key indicators. This year's special issue was produced in place of the brief. In 2015, the forum will issue the customary full-length America's Children report.