Majority of young Americans support universal basic income, public healthcare: poll

Greg Nash

A majority of younger Americans support both a universal basic income established by the federal government and some sort of public healthcare option, according to a new survey.

The poll from University of Chicago’s GenForward Survey Project indicates that 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-36 support a federally-funded basic income of $1,000 per month for all U.S residents, a plan touted by businessman Andrew Yang during his 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.

Younger Americans also want to see the current U.S. healthcare system expanded at the federal level, the poll finds, with 35 percent supporting the creation of a so-called “public option,” or a public healthcare plan that would compete with private insurers. Another 17 percent said that the U.S. healthcare system should be replaced with a single-payer “Medicare for All” system.

In comparison, just 21 percent said that they supported keeping the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and building off it while 17 percent supported repealing that plan entirely.

Economic anxiety remains a serious concern for younger Americans, which may contribute to their support for expansions of the social safety net. According to the survey, 59 percent of young adults said that they were at least somewhat worried about their ability to afford a surprise $1,000 expense in their personal lives, while only 30 percent said they were not worried about such a possibility.

The University of Chicago study was completed by 3,257 Americans aged 18-36 between February 7 to February 20, 2020, via phone and internet surveys. The survey’s margin of error is 2.36 percentage points.

Updated at 10:15 to correct the margin of error and polling period.

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