The millennials sure are a hopeful generation. It's too bad none of their elders agree with their rosy assessment of their future. The majority of Americans now think that Gen Y and the even younger iGen (as AdAgeStat refers to the generation coming in behind the millennials) are fundamentally hosed.
"How likely do you think it is that today's youth will have a better life than their parents?" Various news and polling organizations have been asking that question since 1983, and Gallup is the survey firm currently running with the ball.
Optimism reached its zenith a mere 10 years ago, in the wake of 9/11. At that point, 71% answered "somewhat likely or very likely" to the question. Now that figure stands at 44% -- the first time it's dipped below half and a full six points below last October.
The only possible good news is that the millennials themselves are the most hopeful, with 57% answering in the "likely" better segment. As we've discussed, Gen-X isn't going to save the economy, so it's up to millennials to pick up the spending pace from their boomer parents. The boomers have driven consumerism for decades now and are only now sliding into the less-spend-heavy age group of the 65 and over cohort. One interesting follow-up would be: What do you think a pessimistic outlook for the youth says about your own future?
What do you think, would you rather market to a hopeful or cynical consumer?