Young American Engagement Toolkit

Overview of Young Americans

Young Americans are a large, diverse group that represents a variety of languages, races/ethnicities, nationalities, and educational backgrounds. The varying nature of this group makes outreach to them unique and challenging. With new opportunities for engagement through social media and technology, effective outreach for young Americans must combine traditional strategies with new, creative tactics for a comprehensive engagement approach.

Important Facts:

✓ Although the uninsured rate for young adults ages 19-34 declined from 28 percent in 2013 to 18 percent in 2014 due to the Affordable Care Act, young adults are still the age group most likely to lack health insurance.1

✓ Young Americans were particularly hard-hit by the recession, graduate with historically high rates of student debt, and have higher poverty rates and lower incomes than their two preceding generations.2

    • As of March 2014, 8.2 percent of young adults ages 18-34 were unemployed compared to 5.2 percent of unemployed adults over 35.3

Engaging Young Americans

When engaging young American consumers, you will more than likely be speaking to three key groups within the community. This toolkit was developed around three primary subsets of the young American community to fully encompass the group as a whole but also to hone in on particular communities that would require unique modes of engagement, including community college students, students at four-year institutions, and non-college youth.

Community College Students

Community colleges serve a segment of the population that is statistically more likely to be uninsured than the general population. Individuals going to community colleges are often young people, African Americans, Latinos, and low-income.4

Four-Year Institution Students

While students in four-year institutions are more likely to be insured, many are considered to be “at risk” of being uninsured. Many of these individuals lose their coverage once they turn 26 because they are removed from their parent’s insurance or because they graduate and lose the coverage they have through their school. Another potential reason these individuals are “at risk” of being uninsured is because some college campuses do not require students to have insurance.

Non-College Youth

Because the overwhelming majority of uninsured Americans do not have a college degree,5 many young adults cannot be easily reached through outreach on college campuses. Instead, outreach should focus on going to places where these individuals are likely to congregate and/or finding organizations that are not youth-specific, but serve young people because of the nature of the work that they provide. Read more about ways to engage this population under the “non-college young Americans” section.


Download the full toolkit as a PDF


1 Collins, S.R., Rasmussen, P.W., & Doty, M.M. (July 2014). Gaining Ground: Americans’ Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care After the Affordable Care Act’s First Open Enrollment Period, The Commonwealth Fund. Retrieved from; “A Formula to Find the Uninsured Around the Country,” The New York Times. Retrieved from 

2 Muggleston, K. (May 2015). Finding Time. Millennial Parents, Poverty, And Rising Costs, Young Invincibles. Retrieved from

3 Muggleston, K. (May 2015). Finding Time. Millennial Parents, Poverty, And Rising Costs, Young Invincibles. Retrieved from

4 Postolowski, C. & Newcomer, A. (June 2013). Helping Students Understand Health Care Reform and Enroll in Health Insurance, CLASP. Retrieved from

5 Knight, E. (2014). The Effect of Educational Attainment on Health Insurance Coverage. Retrieved from

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