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Published: Aug 18, 2022 3 min read
Photo Collage of two sets of parents and their two children with money bills in the background
Money; Getty Images

Between rising prices, a housing affordability crisis and the threat of a recession, it’s no wonder nearly three-quarters of Americans say kids in the U.S. today will be worse off financially than their parents.

That’s according to survey data released this month by the Pew Research Center. In the United States, 72% of adults polled this spring were pessimistic about children’s financial futures. On the other hand, just 27% said they believed children would be financially better off than their parents.

Pessimism about the financial futures of kids today is the standard around the world. Across the 19 countries included in the survey of more than 2,000 people, which was conducted between February and June of this year — when inflation was soaring and stocks were struggling in much of the world — a median of 70% of adults said they believed children will be worse off financially than their parents.

Attitudes were most pessimistic in Japan, where 82% of adults said that children would be worse off. Optimism was highest in Singapore, where 56% of people said children will be better off than their parents.

People are growing more pessimistic about the economy

In the United States, the portion of people that say children will be worse off than their parents financially has ballooned from 57% in 2020 to 72% in 2022, according to Pew’s data.

That trend of increasing economic pessimism can be found in eight other countries in the study, including the United Kingdom and Australia. It is most extreme in Poland, where the portion of pessimistic adults has nearly doubled from 23% in 2019 to 42% in 2022.

The survey data echoes a broader trend: Americans are becoming more pessimistic about the economy in general.

A survey conducted in June by The New York Times and Momentive found that more than half of respondents believed they were worse off financially than they were a year earlier — the highest ever share in five years of survey data. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, which measures Americans’ opinions about economic conditions, recently dropped to levels on par with the height of the financial crisis in 2009.

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