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Young People Say They'll Do Better Than Their Parents

A generation of pessimists has spawned an enthusiastically upbeat generation of kids.

A newly released Gallup Poll shows that only 5 percent of the children interviewed thought it was unlikely they would not have a better life than their parents. Adults surveyed last month for the USA/Today Gallup poll were split evenly on their hopes for the future of their children.


A full 43 percent of the children polled, grades 5 through 12, thought it was very likely they would do better than their parents. And another 52 percent thought that was somewhat likely.

The poll found nonwhite children to be the most optimistic, with 54 percent believing they were very likely to have a better life than their parents, compared with just 34 percent of white children. Gallup officials noted that having a black president might have inspired some of the optimism.

Shane Lopez and Valerie J. Calderon of Gallup argued that the poll bodes well for the future:

"How people think about the future affects how they behave today. For example, students who consider higher education to be part of having a better future are more likely to turn in an extra credit school assignment tomorrow. Given this link between future thinking and current productivity, it is important to consider how the response to the 'better life than your parents' question subtly affects youth behavior at the individual and community levels."


Photo: Gulliver Schools via Wikimedia Commons

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