Nearly 70% of Americans believe that, as adults, today's children will have less financial stability, poorer chances of having steady job and owning home without too much debt; 31% say economy will worsen over next year: Allstate-National Journal poll
September 20, 2013
– American Adults Believe Today's Children Have Fewer Prospects and Opportunities, though Teens Remain Optimistic about the Future, according to the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll
New data from the quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll shows an American public that overwhelmingly believes childhood and parenthood were better for earlier generations, with 79 percent of poll respondents saying it was better to have been a child when they were young.
Watch a live briefing on key findings from the latest Heartland Monitor Poll today at 8:30 a.m. ET, at http://www.nationaljournal.com/events, featuring Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee.
The most recent Heartland Monitor shows that Americans are deeply uncertain about the prospects for today's children. A majority (68 percent) of respondents believe that when today's children are adults, they'll have less financial security, with a poorer chance of holding a steady job and owning a home without too much debt. Almost the same percentage (62 percent) believes their children will have less opportunity to achieve a comfortable retirement. Overall, Heartland XVIII delivers a downbeat vision from parents and non-parents alike, who believe that today's children will display less patriotism, work ethic, and civic responsibility than today's adults.
Yet, in the face of this intense pessimism on the part of adults, teenagers are much more optimistic and clearly feel the older generations have it wrong. For the first time, the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll also surveyed high school teenagers ages 13-18, and found an optimistic view of the economy: More than half of the teens surveyed (54 percent) say they believe it's better to be a teenager today than it was when their parents were growing up. A plurality (45 percent) believe that when they are their parents' age, they will have more opportunity to get ahead than the previous generation. Just 24 percent of teens say they will have less opportunity.
"The world looks to America as a beacon of hope to realize one's dreams. While we see pessimism in this poll, the younger generation feels a sense of optimism about the future," said Sanjay Gupta, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Allstate. "These findings reinforce a challenging backdrop, but the optimism of the younger generation gives us hope in the enduring American dream."
The 18th quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll digs into the increased concerns about the country's political direction and the economy. American adults say that opportunities for a quality education, access to health care, fair treatment, adequate play time, and sufficient love and attention are accessible to some, but are not guaranteed for the average American child.
This negative view of the future parallels a noticeable chilling of the national mood, with a high percentage (64 percent) of Americans believing that the country is on the wrong track. President Obama's approval rating has hit a low (40 percent), as has that of Congress (13 percent), since this poll's first installment in April 2009. Almost half of Americans (47 percent) say that the Obama administration's actions decrease the opportunity for them to get ahead, the highest percentage since the poll began asking the question in April 2009. Respondents are relatively split on whether the economy will improve (28 percent), become worse (31 percent), or stay the same (36 percent) over the next 12 months.
In the area of education, more teens than adults consider college a worthy investment. While over half of adult respondents (53 percent) still believe the average four-year college education is a ticket to the middle class, and that a degree helps people get good jobs and build successful careers, a full 39 percent view college as an economic burden. Teenagers, meanwhile, feel that college is a good investment for the future (86 percent), rather than an unnecessary expense that is not worth it (14 percent).
In other areas of the poll, a large majority (69 percent) of adults polled believe parents are too busy with work and their own personal lives to spend enough time with their children or to give them the attention they need to learn and grow.
"The operative definition of the American Dream is that each generation will live better than its predecessor," added Ronald Brownstein, editorial director of Atlantic Media. "The latest Heartland Monitor survey shows how much the sustained economic slowdown has frayed that expectation among average Americans. While the poll shows that most Americans believe the country is still providing kids with many of the necessary ingredients for success—particularly a quality education—it captures a widespread fear that the economy simply won't provide as many opportunities to future generations as Americans remember from when they were young."
Key findings from the 18th Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll are also available via PDF. Additional information on the entire polling series can be found at: http://www.theheartlandvoice.com/category/insights.
1. Americans overwhelmingly believe that today's children and parents are facing more difficulties and challenges than previous generations.
2. Looking forward, Americans remain concerned about opportunities and achievement for the next generation.
3. Americans are conflicted on policy approaches related to the cost of raising children and college education.
4. This poll shows a decline in the American political environment and a fading confidence in President Obama and the economy.
5. Americans continue to occupy a "middle ground" between optimism and concern regarding their personal financial situation.
Since April 2009, the quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Polls have explored American attitudes on the changing economy. The most recent Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll was conducted by FTI Consulting, from September 3-7, 2013 among N=1,000 American adults age 18+ reached via landline and cell phone as well as an online survey of American teenagers age 13-17 and 18 year olds still in high school. The margin of error for the N=1,000 telephone sample is +/- 3.1 percent.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com, www.allstate.com/financial and 1-800 Allstate®, and are widely known through the slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®." As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $29 million in 2012 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.
About National Journal
National Journal is Washington's premier source for 360-degree insight on politics and policy. With up-to-the-minute breaking news and analysis at NationalJournal.com, the essential intelligence of National Journal Daily, the knowledge and depth of National Journal magazine, and the comprehensive campaign coverage of National Journal Hotline, National Journal delivers everything you need to know to stay ahead of the curve in Washington.
About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With over 3,900 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The Company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.
SOURCE The Allstate Corporation