A new study has revealed that about half of young Americans feel unsafe amid concerns over gun violence and homelessness, with a quarter of them having thoughts that they would be “better off dead.”
A poll conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School showed that 48 percent of Americans aged between 18 and 29 have felt unsafe in the past month, with 40 percent worried about falling victim to gun violence and 32 percent concerned that they could be homeless one day.
In the Spring 2023 edition of the Harvard Youth Poll, which was conducted between March 13 and 22, 2,069 people between 18 and 29 years old were surveyed.
The 45th edition of the poll also indicated that over three in five, or 63 percent of, young Americans support stricter gun laws.
More than 12,800 people in the US have died from gun violence so far this year, which means an average of over 114 deaths per day, according to a non-profit research group.
The latest report by Gun Violence Archive says there have been 168 mass shootings so far this year, and that the number of mass shootings has gone up significantly in recent years.
According to the poll, US President Joe Biden’s approval rating dropped from 39 percent last fall to 36 percent due to the worsening figures associated with violence across the country.
The survey also found that 47 percent of Americans under the age of 30 report “feeling down, depressed, or hopeless,” and 24 percent have had thoughts that they would be “better off dead,” or have considered self-harm at least several days in the last two weeks.
“The data collected in this poll clearly demonstrates not only the growing levels of political engagement among young people, but the urgency of addressing serious issues such as mental health, gun violence, housing, and more,” said IOP Director Setti Warren.
Ethan Jasny, 25, student chair of the Harvard Public Opinion Project, said: “From fears of mass shootings to concerns of one day becoming homeless, the current state of Gen Z could perhaps best be summarized in one word: anxious.”
“Young Americans have translated this fear into action, turning out to vote like their rights — and lives — depend on it. But we cannot take this engagement for granted. Public figures across the political divide must recognize the profound personal challenges members of my generation face every day.”