News; News & Events

United States: New survey shows overwhelming support for basic income among Democrat students

A new survey focused on basic income has been published by College Pulse (December 2019). 2000 college students were asked several questions, among which, for instance, if they supported the implementation of a basic income in the United States, such as that proposed by Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, and what they would use the money for, if they did receive this unconditional stipend.

Overall, the survey showed that a clear 66% of Democrat-leaning students favored basic income, although also two-thirds of these are not confident this policy to ever become a reality in the United States (overall, 83% of students felt this way). Expectedly, only 18% of Republican-inclined students backed the idea. Support for basic income is also different depending on the subject’s race: while 47% of whites supported basic income, a much higher 62% group of non-whites were in favor of it.

The reasons to oppose basic income also varied, among respondents. A 34% majority (of those opposing) agreed that basic income should not be implemented because money should be earned (the laziness argument), while 30% argued the policy would be too expensive (the cost argument), and finally 8% concluded that this would lead people to misspend the money (the (lack of) trust argument). This is overall, but finer results show that Democrats are much more likely to refuse basic income on the grounds of excessive cost, whereas Republicans are over 50% inclined to oppose the policy convinced people would stop working if they received a basic income.

Although a significant majority of Democrat-leaning students (84%) considers that a Presidential Candidate who clearly defends a basic income implementation in the United States, either doesn’t change their vote tendency or increases the chances of them voting for such a Candidate, only 8% think the policy should be a priority over this next political cycle. These students prioritize, the results show, universal health care and stricter environmental laws.

More information at:

Jackson Schroeder, “66% Of College Democrats Support A Universal Basic Income”, The University Network, December 27th 2019

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 363 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • DH Fabian

    Consider that we’re over 20 years into the war on the poor, during which the middle class have shown indifference to the consequences. There are no signs to indicate changing attitudes. They would accept a “universal” basic income guarantee only for the more fortunate, the currently employed.

  • George

    “Expectedly, only 18% of Republican-inclined students backed the idea.”

    I understood perhaps wrongly, that UBI got more cross-party support than that.
    The conservative basis being summarised as
    1) there are a myriad of benefits today
    2) from various levels of Government
    3) that sometimes work as cross-purposes to each other
    4) and all have their own bureaucracy

    a single benefit – or at least much reduced number of benefits – streamlines bureaucracy, although I still reserve the right to grumble about welfare benefits in general.

    That only 18% of Republican-inclined students support UBI, suggests to me they are not aware of the conservative arguments for UBI and / or have not been exposed to the modelling where perhaps they could enter their own more conservative numbers e.g. $150/wk instead of $250 / wk.

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