Washington, D.C., August 8, 2012—The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., in collaboration with Hart Research Associates and NORC at the University of Chicago, announced the 2012-2013 State of Our Nation’s Youth survey results today at the Newseum. The comprehensive national study examines the perceptions and aspirations of 1,500 of today’s young people ages 14 to 23. The report reflects the experiences of today’s high school students and high school graduates and offers insights into how their responses characterize the state of our country. The report explores the views of young Americans on politics, family, the economy, relationships, life goals, spirituality, education, and the transition from high school into college and careers.
“A key priority of the Horatio Alger Association’s educational mission is to better understand the issues facing young people,” Executive Director Terrence J. Giroux said. “The 2012 survey not only provides valuable insights into how we can help young people to succeed, but it also highlights encouraging trends in how young people are shaping the future of our country.”
For the first time in the survey’s history, the Association welcomed NORC at the University of Chicago to contribute to the report in collaboration with Hart Research Associates. The 2012 State of Our Nation’s Youth report is the 11th edition in the series conducted by the Horatio Alger Association and the seventh survey completed in coordination with Hart Research Associates.
2012-2013 State of Our Nation’s Youth report highlights include:
Increased Optimism about the Nation's Future
- 60 percent of high school students are hopeful about the country’s future, vs. 53 percent in 2008.
Declining Interest in Presidential Politics, Increased Concern over the Economy
- 57 percent of high school students care who wins the election, vs. 75 percent in 2008.
- Top voting issues for high school graduates and high school students:
- Economy/Jobs—58 percent of graduates, and 56 percent of students, vs. 34 percent of students in 2008.
- Education—36 percent of graduates, and 32 percent of students, vs. 25 percent of students in 2008.
- Healthcare—third-highest voting priority for high school graduates. The Environment was the third voting priority for high school students.
Young People Get Their News Online, Finding More Bullying in Social Media
- 48 percent of high school students get news online. Just 15 percent read printed news.
- 24 percent of high school students reported online harassment, an increase from 16 percent in 2008.
- 27 percent of high school females suffered hurtful online posts vs. 20 percent of males.
Transition from High School to College
- 63 percent of high school students are taking college preparatory classes, but 24 percent of recent grads who took college prep needed remedial education classes to meet college requirements.
- 46 percent of recent high school grads in college say college is more difficult than they expected.
- 18 percent of high school students have major concerns they will not have sufficient resources to pay for college.
- 57 percent of high school students have some concerns but are optimistic about having enough funds for college.
Improved Grades and Increasing Desire to Continue Education
- 37 percent of high school students reported receiving mostly A's, up from 25 percent in 2008.
- 97 percent of students aspire to further education after high school, up from 93 percent in 2008.
- 76 percent of high school students participate in student groups once a month, 24 percent do not.
High School and College Unemployment
- 39 percent of high school students and 28 percent of graduates not in college can’t find work.
- 53 percent of college students work; 32 percent are seeking work yet remain unemployed.
Private Sector Interest and Self-Efficacy
- 74 percent of graduates believe they will likely work for private business; 69 percent believe they will likely be self-employed.
- 96 percent of high school students and graduates agree that their own actions, rather than luck, shape their ability to succeed.
The State of Our Nation’s Youth reports are part of the Horatio Alger Association’s research initiatives focused on identifying and addressing key issues facing American youth. The results also help to inform the Association’s educational programs on behalf of young people at risk.
About Hart Research Associates
Founded in 1971, Hart Research Associates is one of the leading survey research firms in the United States and has been at the cutting edge of change in the field of public opinion for more than three decades. In that time, Hart Research has conducted well over 5,000 public opinion surveys, has administered and analyzed interviews among more than three million individuals, and has undertaken more than 5,000 focus group sessions.
About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago
is an independent research organization with more than 70 years of leadership and experience in data collection, analysis, and dissemination. NORC supports a national field staff and international research operations collaborating with governments, educational and nonprofit organizations, and businesses to provide data and analysis that support informed decision-making in health, education, economics, crime, justice, energy, security, and the environment.
About the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans celebrates those individuals in our society whose determination and hard work have enabled them to overcome life’s obstacles to achieve success. As a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, the Association provides college scholarships and mentorship to at-risk students who demonstrate courage in the face of adversity and dedication to pursuing higher education. The Horatio Alger Association has awarded almost $100 million to nearly 20,000 Scholars since the inception of its scholarship programs in 1984. For the full survey and more information, please visit their site