Young adults are being hit quite hard by the current recession — over a third report having trouble paying rent — and many are facing the pain by cutting back on favorite pastimes of the bar-hopping youth: alcohol and cigarettes. Fully 39% of those ages 18 to 29 say they have cut back spending on alcohol or cigarettes as a result of the recession. By comparison, 29% of those ages 30 to 49, 27% of those ages 50 to 64 and only 12% of those ages 65 and above have recently cut back on alcohol or cigarettes. Young Americans are also more likely than older age cohorts to have changed their cell phone plan and to have moved in with others to cut costs because of the economic downturn. However, younger Americans remain optimistic despite the hard times and loss of booze and smokes. Fully 76% believe their personal financial situation will improve over the course of the next year, compared with fewer than half of those ages 30 and older. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.