Americans are tucking their kids into bed at night convinced their children will be sleeping less soundly in the future.
Just 37 percent of Americans think that children in the United States will grow up to be better off financially than their parents, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank based in Washington, DC.
Russians, meanwhile, have a more optimistic outlook, with 52 percent saying they believe their kids will be better off. More than half of respondents in countries with fast-paced economic growth such as India, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Philippines also said they expected their kids to be better off.
“The U.S. may be one of the richest countries in the world, with one of the highest per capita gross domestic products among major nations, but Americans are fairly pessimistic about economic prospects for their country’s children,” said the report.
One of the reasons for the gloom is a growing income gap that tracks with an education gap. The majority of the economic gains in recent years have gone to families with a college education or higher.
Americans with just a high school diploma were less likely to be satisfied with the economy than those with a higher education, according to the Pew data, which saw a 14-percentage point difference between the two groups.
“”These people are experiencing a different economy,” Bruce Stokes, director of global economic attitudes at Pew, told the New York Times. “Everything we know from the economic statistics shows there is an income premium if you have a college education. It’s another reminder that we live in a very divided society, not just politically but economically.”
Though downbeat on the future, Americans’ sentiment about their present circumstances is on the upswing, with 58 percent describing the current economic situation as good. That’s up from 18 percent, in the wake of the Great Recession, and up from 50 percent in 2007, on the eve of the meltdown.
And there’s a bright light: the outlook of the young themselves. When 18 to 29 year-olds were asked if they thought children today in our country will grow up to be better off financially than their parents, 45 percent said yes.
Pew researchers surveyed 34,788 people in 32 countries through phone or face-to-face interviews from February to April, 2017.