Millennials Not Confident in Future of the US
Millennials may have different opinions on political and social issues than older generations, but one thing they have in common with their parents and grandparents is their outlook on the future of the United States. Millennials are concerned about the country's future, just like Generation Xers and Baby Boomers were when they were young.
Millennials have doubts about the country's future, according to a study conducted by Pew Research last fall about attitudes toward the government. Only 37 percent of millennials surveyed said they had "quite a lot of confidence" in the future of the country.
Gen Xers and Boomers More Confident
Members of Generation X, now between the ages of 35 and 50, had more confidence in the future of the U.S., with 45 percent saying they had quite a lot of confidence. Baby Boomers, now between the ages of 51 and 69, had even more confidence in the country's future, with 49 percent saying they had quite a lot of confidence in the future of the nation.
Previous Generations Felt the Same Way
When Generation Xers were in their teens and 20s in 1994, they shared the worries that millennials express today about the future. At that time, just 30 percent of Xers said they were sure of the country's direction. The older generations at the time, Boomers and Silents -- aged 49 to 65 at the time -- were relatively confident in the country's future, with over 50 percent saying they were quite confident.
In 1975, almost half of Boomers, aged 18 to 29 at the time, had a great deal of confidence in the country's future. Over 60 percent of the Silent generation, aged 30 to 47 at the time, and over two thirds of the Greatest generation, aged 48 to 60 at the time, were very confident in the nation's fate.
Blame the Stage of Life
The current lack of confidence among millennials for the country's future can be attributed to their stage of life, rather than expressing a unique characteristic of the age group. Millennials are less involved in politics than the older generations, but that was true of the previous generations when they were young too. Millennial negativity toward the country's future can simply be attributed to youth and fear for their own futures.
Millennials went through school during the Great Recession and experienced life in a country that had an uncertain future economically. Now, millennials are adults entering the workforce. Some might have had better luck than others so far, which could explain general negativity regarding the future. If respondents have not been successful, they might think the rest of the country shares their misfortune.
Better Years Ahead?
Some millennials are confident the country has "better years ahead." According to a 2014 Pew Research survey, 49 percent of millennials said the country's best years are "ahead of us," while 45 percent said the best years were "behind us." Older generations disagreed, and most said the United States' best years were "behind us" and not "ahead of us."
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