Sep 14, 2023 - Health

Gen Z's surprise optimism about the future

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Members of Gen Z — despite the pandemic, social strife and widespread mental health struggles — are surprisingly optimistic about their future.

Why it matters: Gen Z's view of itself couldn't be more different than everyone else's view of Gen Z.

Driving the news: Members of the age group — born between 1997 and 2011 — overwhelmingly felt positive about their futures, according to Gallup data released on Thursday.

  • But Gen Z doesn't believe their schools and communities have properly prepared them.

State of play: 76% of Gen Z surveyed said "they have a great future ahead of them," but just 44% reported feeling prepared for it.

  • 82% believe they will achieve their goals.
  • At the same time, older generations report less optimism about the future of people in their teens and 20s, Zach Hrynowski, a senior education researcher at Gallup, said.

Zoom in: Black Gen Z members reported the most optimism regarding the future and their job prospects.

  • 44% of Black respondents strongly agreed they have a great future ahead of them.
  • 30% of Hispanic respondents and 31% of White respondents strongly agreed.

The intrigue: Members of Gen Z feel they're lacking support networks for entering and navigating it.

  • They also reported feeling unchallenged by school material.

Between the lines: It's normal in modern adolescence not to have all goals figured out quite yet.

  • "There's a lot of optimism when you're young, there's a certain amount of anxiety," said William Damon, the director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence.
  • "Kids need support, they need guidance. Some kids feel lost in a complicated world."

Methodology: The poll is based on a web survey of 3,114 12- to 26-year-olds living in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. It was from conducted April 24-May 8, 2023, and has a margin of error of 2.6%.

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