New IWPR survey data show that young women remain remarkably optimistic about achieving the “American dream” in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. To ensure young women stay on track toward achieving their dreams, policies that support them in their academic and professional pursuits should be prioritized.

Research highlights:

  • A large share (81.8 percent) of young women report that they have achieved or are on their way to achieving the “American dream.”

  • Overall, 80.4 percent of currently employed young women report being “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their chances for advancement in their jobs. 

  • Six out of ten young women report that they have already achieved their career goals or are optimistic about their ability to achieve them in the future.

  • Six out of ten young women report they are “very” or “somewhat” likely to start their own families in the next five years.

  • Only 30.3 percent of young women surveyed said they were worse off financially than their parents were at their age. A smaller group (21.8 percent) reported that COVID-19 had affected their finances more than others they know.

This brief was made possible by the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda French Gates.