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7 Worst States for Millennial Prospecting

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If you are trying to help millennials set up life insurance, annuities, other protection or retirement savings products, you have a problem: More U.S. adults ages 25 through 39 may be using regular savings, retirement savings withdrawals and asset sales to pay the bills.

The U.S. Census Bureau has found that the percentage of all U.S. residents ages 18 and older who say they or people in their households are tapping assets to pay bills in a given seven-day period has increased to 25% this summer, up from 20% in a comparable period in 2021.

The number in that position has increased about 24%, to 63 million.

For people ages 25 to 39 — what Pew Research defines as the millennial generation — the percentage of people who say their households have used assets to pay the bills recently has climbed from 23% to 28%, and the number tapping assets has climbed about 25%, to 19 million.

At the state level, the percentage of millennials tapping assets ranges from 19.8%, in the District of Columbia, and 20.6%, in Louisiana, up to more than 45%, in one state, with a median of 28%.

To see the seven states with the highest percentage of millennials tapping assets, see the slideshow above.

For data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, see the chart below.

Survey Details

The Census Bureau has based the data on results from the Household Pulse Survey, which is conducted entirely through cell phone text messages and was started in early 2020, to give policymakers an idea about how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting people’s well-being.

Bureau officials publish the data with many warnings about the reliability and precision of the data.

One challenge is that the bureau is using a new question to determine where people are getting the funds they’re using to pay the bills.

Comparable numbers from years before the pandemic came to light, in January 2020, are not readily available.

Another problem is that it’s not always clear how survey takers might have understood the questions. Some prosperous consumers who have used savings accounts to pay for vacations might have said “yes” to the asset-tapping question, for example.

Still another question is how representative survey data obtained through cell phones can be. We focus on data for the 25-39 age group here, based on the idea that people in that age group are likely to be finished with college and career training and may be more likely to have cell phones and participate in text-message-based surveys than older Americans.

It’s not clear whether differences between the figures for the 25-39 age group and the figures for all adults are the result of true population differences or differences between how people in different age groups respond to text-message-based surveys.

More Findings

Overall, survey participants are reporting that they are making less use of unemployment insurance and special COVID-19 pandemic aid payments to pay their bills this year, but also less use of the “regular sources of income they” used before the pandemic started.

They also seem to be leaning more on friends and relatives for financial help: The percentage of all adults surveyed who said they are leaning on friends and family to pay the bills has increased 38%, to 31.4 million..

Use of Regular Savings, Retirement and Asset Sales to Pay Last Week’s Bills

All Adults, Ages 18+ Adults Ages 25-39
Number of Residents in Age Group Number Using Savings and Selling Assets to Pay Bills Percentage Using Savings and Selling Assets to Pay Bills Number of Residents in Age Group Number Using Savings and Selling Assets to Pay Bills Percentage Using Savings and Selling Assets to Pay Bills
Alabama 3,834,457 955,793 24.9% 1,194,740 298,729 25.0%
Alaska 531,333 137,832 25.9% 155,465 49,118 31.6%
Arizona 3,834,457 955,793 24.9% 1,194,740 298,729 25.0%
Arkansas 2,271,243 505,290 22.2% 595,873 125,618 21.1%
California 29,638,176 7,502,129 25.3% 8,838,989 2,444,602 27.7%
Colorado 4,512,373 1,238,732 27.5% 1,431,298 401,179 28.0%
Connecticut 2,788,487 767,581 27.5% 694,568 206,678 29.8%
Delaware 785,346 158,366 20.2% 192,976 42,981 22.3%
District of Columbia 490,792 87,947 17.9% 168,965 33,487 19.8%
Florida 17,352,741 4,548,202 26.2% 4,314,690 1,301,666 30.2%
Georgia 8,132,374 1,894,718 23.3% 2,373,048 689,694 29.1%
Hawaii 1,094,635 238,850 21.8% 244,020 72,586 29.7%
Idaho 1,455,895 346,731 23.8% 335,644 79,964 23.8%
Illinois 9,551,119 2,242,769 23.5% 2,465,442 764,023 31.0%
Indiana 5,083,178 1,307,430 25.7% 1,268,832 367,888 29.0%
Iowa 2,383,519 613,624 25.7% 575,975 148,384 25.8%
Kansas 2,170,474 562,437 25.9% 601,430 178,376 29.7%
Kentucky 3,391,961 824,638 24.3% 888,571 262,683 29.6%
Louisiana 3,424,716 771,129 22.5% 929,865 191,390 20.6%
Maine 1,101,707 242,077 22.0% 297,399 76,783 25.8%
Maryland 4,683,782 1,257,100 26.8% 1,254,910 313,522 25.0%
Massachusetts 5,379,210 1,407,233 26.2% 1,455,540 360,497 24.8%
Michigan 7,718,744 1,779,228 23.1% 1,981,339 465,586 23.5%
Minnesota 4,292,621 921,170 21.5% 1,138,925 273,220 24.0%
Mississippi 2,182,393 527,681 24.2% 557,217 126,426 22.7%
Missouri 4,663,877 998,261 21.4% 1,150,575 288,702 25.1%
Montana 864,637 262,265 30.3% 250,180 113,374 45.3%
Nebraska 1,444,043 359,480 24.9% 391,015 132,632 33.9%
Nevada 2,449,239 644,236 26.3% 589,940 185,262 31.4%
New Hampshire 1,110,006 345,823 31.2% 287,256 80,419 28.0%
New Jersey 7,091,865 1,836,631 25.9% 1,970,577 488,934 24.8%
New Mexico 1,614,032 454,476 28.2% 416,419 137,988 33.1%
New York 14,996,492 3,268,670 21.8% 4,046,762 1,028,424 25.4%
North Carolina 8,113,019 1,865,255 23.0% 2,335,051 608,376 26.1%
North Dakota 565,258 140,255 24.8% 175,214 56,481 32.2%
Ohio 8,912,299 2,138,809 24.0% 2,136,288 641,300 30.0%
Oklahoma 2,959,577 737,802 24.9% 882,047 301,299 34.2%
Oregon 3,326,922 922,592 27.7% 834,636 292,409 35.0%
Pennsylvania 9,920,163 2,281,586 23.0% 2,365,741 496,708 21.0%
Rhode Island 850,221 207,683 24.4% 220,533 81,876 37.1%
South Carolina 4,024,826 987,586 24.5% 1,002,821 223,424 22.3%
South Dakota 656,870 202,710 30.9% 202,375 48,686 24.1%
Tennessee 5,358,697 1,030,604 19.2% 1,423,728 329,786 23.2%
Texas 21,876,805 5,722,691 26.2% 6,739,000 1,890,999 28.1%
Utah 2,411,013 711,441 29.5% 750,310 271,757 36.2%
Vermont 508,959 122,313 24.0% 147,207 44,856 30.5%
Virginia 6,566,286 1,561,485 23.8% 1,842,613 446,000 24.2%
Washington 5,971,226 1,726,821 28.9% 1,761,195 501,739 28.5%
West Virginia 1,382,693 361,473 26.1% 304,721 70,765 23.2%
Wisconsin 4,514,874 1,268,225 28.1% 1,058,960 389,862 36.8%
Wyoming 437,949 127,126 29.0% 109,198 33,516 30.7%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey.

(Image: Thinkstock/LHP)