Current Feelings on The Economy Are Impacting Concerns About Our Children’s Future, New Poll Shows

Six pre-teen friends piggybacking in a park, close up portrait.
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A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that how individuals fared through the pandemic directly correlates to how they feel their economy will perform in the future — including their children’s success in it.

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The Pew Research Center surveyed 1,850 adults in 17 advanced economies from February 1 to May 26, 2021.  They found that people who said the coronavirus crisis has been mishandled by their government and those who said the economy is failing to recover in ways that expose their economy’s weaknesses are more likely to have a negative view of the current economic situation. At the same time, they also believe that because of these trends, children will be worse off financially than their parents.

Interestingly, negative sentiments towards one’s economy varied across socioeconomic levels. While majorities assessed the economy positively in wealthy northern European countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan and Australia, the data was mixed elsewhere.

Over 70 percent of respondents in Greece, France, South Korea, the United States, Spain, Italy and Japan said that the economic situation is bad in their country.

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In addition, across the 17 countries surveyed, a median of 64% say that when children grow up, they will be worse off financially than their parents. Only 32 percent, including those in the group that views the current economy positively, said that children will be better off than their parent’s generation. In just two countries — Singapore and Sweden — did half or more of respondents hold an optimistic view, Pew Center adds.

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In the U.S. specifically, a whopping 68 percent believe that children will be worse off than their parents. The research also shows Americans to be more pessimistic than any other year the survey was conducted. These opinions also endured across partisan groups regardless of where they lived and which political party they belonged to.

Parents’ pessimistic views about their country’s economic recoveries are transferring to the hopes they have for their children. If these sentiments endure, they could have lasting effects on how those children themselves view their own futures. The next couple of years will reveal whether or not the world’s economies are on track to return to where they were pre-pandemic, or a new normal will have to be adapted for economic trajectories as well.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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