A new Gallup Poll shows Americans have little optimism for the financial success of their children — its lowest in almost three decades.
Of U.S. adults, 42% think it is very or somewhat likely that today's youth "will have a better living standard, better homes, a better education and so on." The dismal outlook is tied with a previous low in 2011 and marks an 18 percentage point drop since June 2019.
The highest percentage of American optimism was 71% in 1999 and 2001, while the lowest recorded percentage was 11% in 1995.
The economic challenges of unemployment, recession, and high inflation have created a bleak atmosphere; however, the decline in expectation leans Republican and independent.
More than half — 53% — of Democrats and 33% of Republicans think it is likely the lives of today's youth will be better than their parents' lives. Democrat optimism is historically at its lowest by 2 points, while Republicans are short of their 30% low in 2012.
Republican optimism tends to swing greater than Democrats' when the sitting president's party changes. After Donald Trump was elected, it rose 29 points; when Barack Obama came into office, it fell 17 points.
For Democrats, optimism dropped 13 points after Trump became president, but had not changed with Joe Biden's 2020 victory.
Lower-income Americans were found to be more optimistic. A full 52% of those whose income is less than $40,000 have optimism for the next generation's prospects, compared to the 40% of those in the two higher-income groups above $40,000.
Gallup recorded the poll starting in 2008, supplementing it with data collected between 1995 and 2003 by The New York Times and CBS News.
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