Too dramatic? Probably.
Interesting poll, though. For the first time, Americans have identified that they believe that America’s young people will not have a better quality of their life than their parents. According to the article, the question has been asked by various groups since 1983.
Let’s take a minute and analyze the data. In 1987, 54% of respondents believed that young people would very likely or somewhat likely have a better life than their parents. It skyrocketed to 71% in 2001, but an “eyeballed” average looks like it’s always been around the mid-50’s.
This year, the number is 44%. While lower than last year’s 51%, it’s not cataclysmic–it still hovers around the average.
Let’s look at the question: “In America, each generation has tried to have a better life than their parents, with a better living standard, better homes, a better education, and so on. How likely do you think it is that today’s youth will have a better life than their parents — very likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, or very unlikely?”
This question is not answered in a vacuum. We’re not in a good economic place (though, perhaps, we are recovering) and so of course the doubts would be higher now than ten years ago, when we were just coming into the new millennium and we had a pretty rocking market. Also, is there a noticeable difference between responses of “somewhat likely” and “somewhat unlikely”?
Neil Postman says in his book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology that we ought to be people who pay no attention to a poll unless we know what questions were asked and why (183). The above is a meager attempt at this.