Survey: Majority of U.S. Teens Believe People are Paid Less based on Race, Ethnicity, or Gender

A new survey of 1,004 teens conducted for Junior Achievement by the research company ENGINE Insights shows that a majority (61%) believes that people in our society are paid less based on race, ethnicity, or gender. More than two-thirds (69%) believe people have a harder time getting financial support to start a business based on race, ethnicity, or gender. The survey of 1,004 13- to 17-year-olds was conducted by ENGINE Insights from November 17 to 22, 2020.

Nearly half of survey respondents (45%) felt that “education” is the top way to address a lack of economic opportunity, followed by “changing the laws” (35%), “business reforms” (30%), and “reparations” (23%).

“Addressing economic disparity is top-of-mind for today’s young people,” said Jack E. Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “As we see in these survey results, one way to help reduce barriers to economic opportunity is through education. We at Junior Achievement are committed to doing this through initiatives like our work with CNBC.”

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 “Summit for a More Equitable and Just Tomorrow” on Tuesday, December 8 at 11 a.m.

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 economic empowerment, especially as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The panelists will offer simple, straightforward strategies to help empower participants to strive toward promoting a more equitable and just tomorrow.

Panelists include:

  • Sahil Bloom, Vice President, Altamont Capital Partners
  • Rianka Dorsainvil, Co-Founder & CEO, 2050 Wealth Partners
  • Yanely Espinal, Director of Educational Outreach, Next Gen Personal Finance
  • Akbar Gbajabiamila, Host, American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior and member, CNBC Financial Wellness Advisory Council
  • and Special Guest Marc Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League

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 1,004 13-17 year olds. This survey was live on November 17-22, 2020.

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 1,004 completes are all who qualified and completed based on the demographic quota requirements. The MoE is +/- 3.1%.