Survey: White Parents Less Optimistic Than Others About Outlook for Kids in U.S.

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation poll also found that relatively few parents of any race or ethnicity believe all kids have equal opportunities to succeed and thrive as adults.

Most people raising kids in America are hopeful about the outlook for their children in the U.S., but their views differ by race and ethnicity, with white parents most downbeat, according to a new poll.

In a survey commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the share of parents and caregivers who agreed with the statement “I am optimistic about the future of this country for my children” ranged from 64% among white respondents, to 81% among both Latinos and Asian American and Pacific Islanders. About three-quarters of Black and Indigenous parents agreed.

At the same time, relatively few parents in any of those groups appeared to believe that all kids have equal access to the same opportunities. 

The share of each group who agreed that all children have the same shot at growing up to be “independent, financially stable, healthy adults” was lowest among Black parents at 9%. Seventeen percent of white parents agreed, and roughly 25% among the other groups.

“The caregivers we listened to have experienced many gaps in the opportunities their children have to thrive. That’s an extraordinary burden to carry, especially in these times,” said Jennifer Ng’andu, a managing director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The survey, “Raising the Next Generation: Research with Parents and Caregivers,” examined a slate of issues related to what it is like raising children in the U.S. today.

For each group, about half of respondents had incomes under 250% of the federal poverty level (around $54,000 for a family of three).

Across all the groups, parents said that their kids would have more opportunities than they had to succeed and thrive. According to the survey, 97% of Black parents felt this way. For the other groups the figure was: Latino (94%), Asian American and Pacific Islander (94%), Indigenous (93%) and white (91%).

The survey included responses from about 2,000 parents and guardians raising children as old as 17.  Roughly 400 participants were from each of the five racial and ethnic groups. Respondents were queried online and by phone between October and December last year. The margin of error for the results ranged from +/- 6.6 to 8.2 percentage points depending on the subgroup.

More about the findings can be found here.

Brent Woodie is an associate editor at Route Fifty.

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