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Survey: Majority of U.S. Teens Don't Believe Everyone is Presented with "A Level Playing Field" When It Comes to Financial Oppor

Survey: Majority of U.S. Teens Don't Believe Everyone is Presented with "A Level Playing Field" When It Comes to Financial Opportunity

Junior Achievement Survey Shows 95% of Teens Believe Education is Important in Leveling the Playing Field

PR Newswire

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey of 1,000 teens conducted for Junior Achievement by the research company ENGINE Insights shows that a majority of teens (51%) don't believe everyone is presented with "A Level Playing Field" when it comes to opportunities to achieve financial success. About a third (32%) believe the playing field is level. The survey of 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds was conducted by ENGINE Insights from March 25-30, 2021.

In terms of the biggest challenges to achieving financial success, most teens (53%) cite the cost of higher education, followed by a general lack of understanding of how money, investing, and the economy work (46%). Other challenges include pay gaps based on gender, ethnicity, and other factors (45%); education not being equal for everyone (42%); government not doing enough to help (29%); lack of access to loans for business and housing (21%); and business not doing enough to help (14%).

Other findings from the survey include:

  • 95% of teens believe education plays an important role in leveling the playing field, with 69% saying it is "Very" or "Extremely" important.
  • 38% of teens say they have had some sort of financial literacy class in school.
  • 87% of teens agree with the statement, "Every student should have at least one financial literacy class before graduating high school."

"These survey results show that our nation's teens believe education has a critical role to play in addressing the financial insecurity and inequity many Americans face," said Jack E. Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. "We have an economic system where success is dependent in part on the financial literacy of individuals. However, most Americans aren't introduced to these concepts until they are adults, when a lack of knowledge can result in life-altering consequences. That's why it's critical we deliver financial literacy education to young people while they are still in school."

In response to these concerns, Junior Achievement and Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow., CNBC's financial wellness and education initiative in partnership with Acorns,  will host a "Leveling The Playing Field Through Education"  today, April 22, at 1 pm ET.

Hosted by CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent Sharon Epperson, this unique interactive event will give teens across America direct access to some of the country's most knowledgeable experts on financial literacy. The panelists will offer simple, straightforward strategies to help empower participants to strive toward leveling the playing field through education.

Panelists include:

  • Jay Clayton, Former Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Nathalie Molina Niño, Managing Director at Known Holdings
  • Lisa Cook, Professor, Economics and International Relations, Michigan State University
  • Gorick Ng, Career Advisor at Harvard
  • Jack Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA

Students, parents, and teachers interested in participating in the virtual summit can learn more and register at


This Youth CARAVAN survey was conducted by ENGINE INSIGHTS among a sample of 1,000 13-17-year-olds. This survey was live on March 25-30, 2021.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls.  All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. It is nationally representative with set quotas based on census data. The 1,000 completes are all who qualified and completed based on the demographic quota requirements. The MoE is +/- 3.1%.

About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 3 million students per year in 105 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.2 million students served by operations in 100 other countries worldwide. Junior Achievement USA is a member of JA Worldwide. Visit for more information.

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SOURCE Junior Achievement USA

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