White youths are more pessimistic about their economic future than young minorities, though black and Hispanic youth are more likely to be in a worse financial position right now.
Just 12 percent of whites between the ages of 18 and 34 believe that they will be better off economically than their parents, in contrast to 31 percent of young blacks and 36 percent of young Hispanics, according to a study by Demos, a progressive advocacy organization, and Young Invincibles released on Wednesday. Fifty-five percent of young whites believe that they will be worse off than their parents, compared to 40 percent of young blacks and 36 percent of young Hispanics.
Whites may be more pessimistic about their future because they have more potential for downward mobility. The wealth gap between whites and minorities grew to its highest level in a quarter-century in 2009: whites have 20 times more wealth than blacks and 18 times more wealth than Hispanics.
In spite of the pessimism of young whites, the economic downturn seems to have most hurt black and Hispanic youth, according to the Demos study. Significantly more young blacks and Hispanics have delayed decisions to live on their own, get married, and start a family, and more said it has become harder for them to pay their bills in the past four years.