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.

Expand chart
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.

Go deeper

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

1 hour ago - Health

Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence's decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to aides who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is "essential personnel."

Why it matters: CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that "he's not just campaigning," pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.