The Voice of New Hampshire’s Young Adults 2016
Five years ago the NH Department of Health and Human Services conducted a first-of-its-kind landmark assessment of the state of young adults living, studying, and working in New Hampshire. The results of that study into the behaviors and perceptions of our 18 to 30-year-olds reinforced the need for concern while revealing the root causes of the stressors and risks that youth face as they transition into adulthood.
In the 2015 assessment, The Voice of New Hampshire’s Young Adults: Results of the 2015 Young Adult Needs Assessment, released in August of 2016, we learned that young adults lacked opportunity – they felt marginalized by an economic downturn that impacted their ability to find meaningful employment, by the high cost of basic needs such as housing and education that were out of reach or unsustainable, and by a lack of basic health care and specialty care. While they expressed gratitude for the state’s assessment of their well-being, they revealed that their futures were uncertain, lacking hope, clarity of purpose, and opportunity. Yet optimism was evident in the closeness many felt to their family and friends and in the positive connection they felt to the natural world and to their small-town communities and neighborhoods. Dichotomies that may be related to education, urban versus rural environments, or socio-economic status were also in evidence. For example, some of our young adults felt politically engaged while others sensed a great degree of “close-mindedness”. Some felt there was a lack of activities for young adults while others reported enjoying the outdoors in their free time.