Future fortunes | The Changing Childhood Project | UNICEF x Gallup

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Future fortunes

Most young people feel the world is getting better over time. How do they rate economic prospects in their own country as their generation prepares for adulthood?

We conducted a survey among 15–24 and 40+ year-olds across 21 countries to explore how childhood is changing.

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We asked young people if they think children in their country will be economically better or worse off than their parents when they're older.

What share do you think say they'll be better off?

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% who think children in their country will become economically better off than their parents
54%
Better

On average, 54% of young people say they think children in their country will be economically better off than their parents when they grow up.

Just 38% answered that children will be worse off than their parents.

Again, young people are more positive than older generations.

On average, people over 40 are more likely to say that today’s children will end up economically worse off than their parents.

The upbeat response from young people is a powerful marker of faith in progress.

Comparing one's living standards to those of one's parents is one of the most important benchmarks people use to assess success in life.

By this measure, young people feel pretty good about the prospects of their generation…

… but not so fast!

This belief in progress among the young is absent from most rich countries.

There, young people are twice as likely to say they expect today's children will end up economically worse off than their parents, versus better off.

Most young people in rich countries have resources and opportunities that are the envy of young people in developing countries.

Yet as they look to their futures, young people in rich countries are weighed down by economic unease.

How can we boost young people's economic prospects in an uncertain future?

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