Mar 21, 2019 - Technology

Americans agree on something: The future looks grim

Americans are expecting the worst of the future, with the country rapidly changing. They also agree that politicians likely won't know how to handle the new world, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center.

Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Americans fear:

  • Terrorism: 60% think that a terrorist attack as bad or worse than 9/11 will happen in the next 30 years.
  • Inferior education: 77% worry about whether public schools will be able to provide a quality education to future students.
  • Little or no retirement money: 85% said that by the time they retire they expect to receive no benefits or less benefits from Social Security.
  • Jobs taken by robots: 82% said robots and computers will probably or definitely do much of the work performed by humans today.
  • An old America: More than half say that the elderly outnumbering children in the U.S. will be bad for the country, and the majority say that responsibility for their care will fall on family members and older people themselves.
  • Inept politicians: More than 80% are worried about the way D.C. politics works — including almost half who said they are "very worried."

Between the lines: Americans are starkly divided over growing diversity and the threat of climate change.

  • Diversity: 59% of Republicans and 46% of whites said that a majority nonwhite population will weaken American culture, vs. 18% of African-Americans and 25% of Hispanics. 42% of Democrats and 30% overall said American customs and values would be strengthened.
  • Climate change: 60% of Democrats said they are "very worried" about climate change, vs. 15% of Republicans.
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