New Poll: Parents Remain Gloomy About America's Future While Teens Feel
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
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2013
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --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 theyounger 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
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
believethe 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 percentview 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.
o79 percent of Americans believe it was better to have been a child when
they were young while just 16 percent of American adults believe it is
better to be a child in America today.
o75 percent believe it was better to be a parent when they were growing up,
while just 19 percent of Americans think it is better to be a parent in
oThis sentiment is remarkably consistent across demographic lines,
including age, education, and income.
oMore than half of teens surveyed (54 percent) say it's better to be a
teenager today than it was when their parents were growing up (46
oTeens are less positive about the state of parenthood today - 40
percent think it is better to be a parent today than it was when
their own parents were growing up (60 percent).
oOverall, Americans overwhelmingly believe that today's children face
more challenges (66 percent) than opportunities (25 percent).
2. Looking forward, Americans remain concerned about opportunities and
achievement for the next generation.
oJust 20 percent of Americans believe that today's children will have more
opportunity to get ahead when they are grown, compared to 45 percent who
fear that today's children will have less opportunity, and 30 percent
believe they will have about the same level.
oToday, fewer Americans believe their children will have more
opportunities to get ahead than did so a year ago. In September 2012,
the Heartland Monitor showed that 32 percent of Americans believed
the next generation will have more opportunities, while 32 percent
believed they will have less.
oYoung adults ages 18-29 are the most optimistic, but just 31 percent
believe that today's children will have more opportunity when they are
grown, a 12-point decline since last September.
oToday's teens are more hopeful about their future opportunities, with 45
percent believing they will have more opportunity than their parents had,
24 percent believing they will have less opportunity.
oThinking about the achievements and activities of their own generation,
Americans believe today's children will not quite measure up on a number
o68 percent think that today's children will have less financial
o65 percent think they will have less patriotism and pride in their
o63 percent think they will have less work ethic and professional
o62 percent think they will have less financial freedom and the
ability to afford luxuries;
o53 percent think they will have less financial responsibility;
o48 percent think they will have less civic and community
3. Americans are conflicted on policy approaches related to the cost of
raising children and college education.
oWhen considering the idea of shared societal responsibility and sacrifice
as it relates to assisting parents and children, a slight majority of
Americans express hesitation about asking businesses and non-parents to
contribute too much.
o51 percent believe that "while the country should be supportive of
children and young families, raising those children is the
responsibility of the parents."
o42 percent think that "the entire country has a shared responsibility
to invest more in children and young families."
oWhen told the average cost of cost of raising a child totals more than
o60 percent say that the best approach to making parenting more
affordable is "lowering taxes."
o34 percent prefer "increasing public spending" on programs like
pre-K, public education, child care, health care and college tuition.
oMore than half of Americans see college as a ticket to the middle class
(53 percent) rather than an economic burden (39 percent).
oTeenagers overwhelmingly believe that college is "a good investment for
the future" (86 percent) rather than an "unnecessary expense that is not
worth it" (14 percent).
oFewer than half of parents with school-age children think it's realistic
that they will be able to pay for college education for themselves or
4. This poll shows a decline in the American political environment and a
fading confidence in President Obama and the economy.
oJust a quarter of Americans believe the country is headed in the right
direction, a slippage from the 30 percent we measured in May/June. Half of
Democrats (50 percent) and only 45 percent of African-Americans now
believe things are headed in the right direction.
oPresident Obama's job approval sits at 40 percent, down from 48 percent in
May/June and the lowest we've measured across 18 Heartland Monitor polls.
oJust 13 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, even lower than the
17 percent we measured in May/June.
o47 percent of Americans now believe that the Obama administration will
decrease opportunity for people like them to get ahead. This is the
high-water mark for this measure of pessimism, up from 43 percent in April
and 40 percent in May/June.
oJust 28 percent believe the economy will improve 12 months from now, the
lowest we've measured from 44 percent last November to 34 percent in April
and 37 percent in May/June.
5. Americans continue to occupy a "middle ground" between optimism and concern
regarding their personal financial situation.
o44 percent rate their own personal financial situation as excellent or
good, compared to 49 percent in May/June 2013.
o43 percent expect their financial situation to improve by this time next
year, a slight decline from 47 percent in May/June but notably higher than
the 36 percent measured in April 2013.
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
Contact: Media Inquiries: Matthew Clark, FTI Consulting, 202-728-8766,
email@example.com; Kate Hollcraft, Allstate Insurance Company,
847-402-5600, Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org; Natalie Raabe, The Atlantic,
202-266-7533, email@example.com; Emma Angerer, National Journal,
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.