Press Releases

Jobs, Economy and Education are Top Concerns for Teens This Election, Survey Says

October 24, 2012

According to a new national survey of teens, adults are not the only ones worried about jobs, the economy and education during this presidential election. When asked what teenagers would be concerned with if they could vote, the three issues were top of mind among America’s future workforce.

The 2012 Junior Achievement USA survey of teens ages 14-17 revealed that more than half of teens (57 percent) think the candidates are more concerned with politics and winning than listening to the needs of the people and shaping their ideas and policies accordingly.

Additional key findings include:

  • Two out of three teens are concerned about finding a job after they complete their education (66 percent).
  • Only one in six teens (18 percent) think the candidates are talking enough about helping small business owners and entrepreneurs to be successful.

Today more than ever before, these concerns by teens demonstrate the need for Junior Achievement’s programs which provide young people with financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness skills, and the capacity to excel in the global economy. In the San Diego area, Junior Achievement reaches more than 45,000 of students each year.

“These findings speak to the intelligence and maturity of America’s youth and that they’re paying attention to the issues,” said Junior Achievement of San Diego CEO and President Joanne Pastula. “It also presents us with a challenge to ensure that tomorrow’s workforce is ready, capable and confident. That is what Junior Achievement is all about: empowering young people to own their economic success.”

Like the electorate and general population, teens are fairly split on which candidate they would vote for if they could. Interestingly, 86 percent said they would vote. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 64 percent of voting-aged citizens voted in the 2008 presidential election.

“It is encouraging to see teens’ interest in exercising their right to vote,” said Pastula.

Responses were also analyzed by gender, where a few key differences emerged:

  • More teen girls than boys are concerned about education (70 percent versus 59 percent) and the environment (22 percent versus 15 percent).
  • More teen girls than boys are worried about finding a job after completing their education (71 percent vs. 61 percent).
  • More teen girls (17 percent) than teen boys (11 percent) said they would not vote in this election.

This report presents the findings of an online survey conducted from Sept. 28 – Oct. 12, 2012, among a national sample of 753 teens ages 14-17. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Source: File, T., Crissey, S. (2012). Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008. U.S. Census Bureau. Washington, D.C. Accessible:


JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT OF SAN DIEGO AND IMPERIAL COUNTIES works locally to reach 50,000 students in K-12 classrooms for the 2012-2013 school year with its financial literacy programs.  For more information on programs in San Diego and Imperial Counties, visit