The Power of the Success Sequence for Disadvantaged Young Adults

New Report by The Institute for Family Studies

Charlottesville, Virginia, May 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Date: May 26, 2022
Contact: Michael Toscano

(Charlottesville, VA)—A new report by Wendy Wang and Brad Wilcox finds that young adults from disadvantaged circumstances who follow the success sequence—that is, at least graduate high school, work full time, and marry before having children—are significantly more likely to achieve economic success. The report, "The Power of the Success Sequence for Disadvantaged Young Adults," co-published by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), focuses on how structural factors (e.g., race/ethnicity, family income growing up) are linked to the success sequence for Millennials, as well as the role of high school graduation in the success sequence steps.

Among the key findings: 

  • The success sequence offers a way out of poverty for young adults raised in non-intact families. Among Millennials who didn't grow up with both biological parents but followed all three steps of the sequence, 95% are not poor as adults.
  • More than 95% of Black and Hispanic Millennials who follow all three steps are not poor, and 78% make it to the middle- or higher-income bracket as adults.
  • Millennials who complete the success sequence but only have a high school education have a much lower risk of poverty as adults. Fully 95% of high school educated Millennials who completed the success sequence are not poor by the time they are in their 30s. 

This new IFS/AEI report is being released today at a special event at AEI, along with a new, three-part video series aimed at taking the success sequence message to teens and young adults. 

Download the full report. Learn more about AEI event, which is available to watch online, here

For further information, contact: Michael Toscano.


Percentage of Adults Ages 32-38 in Poverty After Completing Each Step

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