A VIEW FROM THE TOP?

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Although blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to say they have met or surpassed the economic successes of their parents, they are notably less likely to believe that the next generation of adults will do as well as or better than they have. In fact, only 60 percent of blacks and 63 percent of Hispanics feel this way, compared with 67 percent of whites.

While the surging economy of the '90s helped many Americans achieve their goal of meeting or even exceeding the financial well-being of their parents, the children of this millennium may not be as fiscally fortunate, say the respondents to a recent survey conducted exclusively for American Demographics by Rochester, N.Y.-based market research firm Harris Interactive.

In this third installment of our survey series on race and social mobility, American Demographics finds that 80 percent of adults today say that they have done as well as or better than their own parents financially, but only 65 percent are as certain that the next generation of adults will be as well-off. For this study, more than 3,000 adults were polled via the Internet and by telephone between February 13 and 27.

When it comes to their opinions on the financial future of today's youth, there are striking differences between the sexes. Women, especially minority women, are less likely than men to think that tomorrow's adults will fare as well as or better than adults today. Only 63 percent of white women and 58 percent of Hispanic women feel this way, compared with 70 percent of white men and 69 percent of Hispanic men.

The chasm is even greater between black men and women. While 80 percent of black men believe that tomorrow's adults will do as well as or better financially than they have done, fewer than half of black women (46 percent) are as confident.

William Spriggs, director of the National Urban League's Institute for Opportunity and Equality in Washington, D.C., believes that the gender differences are primarily due to what he calls the “feminization of poverty.� In the black community, for example, households headed by women are more likely to be poor than households headed by men. If you look at the future through the eyes of these minority women, it's no wonder many of them have little faith in their children's prospects, he says.

“These women see the hardships that many poor kids face firsthand, including society's lack of commitment to schools in impoverished areas,� says Spriggs. “As such, they are increasingly pessimistic when they see what kids are getting [or not getting].�

TOUGHER TIMES AHEAD

Regardless of race or ethnicity, fewer Americans think the next generation of adults will enjoy the same or greater financial success than adults today.

IS YOUR GENERATION BETTER OFF FINANCIALLY, WORSE OFF OR ABOUT THE SAME AS YOUR PARENTS' GENERATION?

BETTER OR ABOUT THE SAME WORSE
White 81% 20%
Black 84% 16%
Hispanic 82% 19%

DO YOU THINK THE NEXT GENERATION OF ADULTS WILL BE BETTER OFF FINANCIALLY, WORSE OFF OR ABOUT THE SAME AS YOUR GENERATION?

BETTER OR ABOUT THE SAME WORSE
White 67% 32%
Black 60% 37%
Hispanic 63% 34%
*Rows may not add to 100 percent because “Not Sure� responses are not shown and/or because of rounding.

Source: American Demographics/Harris Interactive
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