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Nationwide Survey Results Find
"Concern" is Top Emotion Towards Today's Youth

Growing Leaders & Harris Poll Survey Results

Growing Leaders (http://www.growingleaders.com), a global nonprofit leadership training and development organization for the next generation and those who help shape their lives, released findings from their recent survey on generational preferences. The survey looked at how different generations feel prepared for adult life; whether they have an adult mentor preparing them for adulthood; how overwhelmed they are by daily life; and the role technology plays in learning.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll from October 16-18, 2018 among 2,016 US adults ages 18 and older. Some of the results are quite profound. Here are the highlights:

  • The top emotion that first comes to Americans’ minds when thinking about the future for today’s youth is concern (46%), with older adults more likely than their younger counterparts to cite this emotion (52% of those aged 45+ vs. 38% of those aged 18-44)
  • Nearly all Americans (98%) have at least one concern when thinking about today’s youth, among them, top concerns being social media/smartphone addiction (69%), mental health (61%), school shootings (57%), and alcohol/drug abuse (56%)
  • Close to two thirds of Americans (64%) have doubts about the abilities of today’s youth when it comes to overcoming obstacles, but roughly the same proportion (62%) are hopeful for the future when they think about the resourcefulness of today’s youth

Additional Insights From Survey

1. CONCERN – 46%

When you think about the future for today’s youth, what emotions first come to mind?

  • The Least concerned demographic was 18-34 (36%), and highest was 65+ (53%).
  • The highest instances of concern by gender were 55-64 males (58%) and 65+ females (54%)
  • Adults without children were far more likely (51%) to be concerned for the future of today’s children than adults with children in their house hold (38%).
  • 64% of US adults have doubts about the abilities of today’s youth when it comes to overcoming obstacles.

2. HOPE – 16%

When you think about the future for today’s youth, what emotions first come to mind?

  • The most hopeful demographics were 55-64 females (20%) and 18-34 males (19%).
  • The least hopeful populations were 35-44 males (11%) and 45-54 females (12%).
  • The mid-west (19%) and western (18%) regions were more hopeful than the northeast (15%) and southern (14%) regions.
  • 62% of US adults agree with the following statement, “I am hopeful for the future when I think about the resourcefulness of today’s youth.”
  • Millennials (18-34) and older baby boomers (65+) are the most hopeful (66%) for the future of today’s youth, when compared to Generation X (35-54) and younger Baby Boomers (55-64), who are less likely (59%) to be hopeful.
  • Today’s parents are more hopeful (65%) for the future of today’s youth than adults without children (60%).

3. FEAR – 13%

When you think about the future for today’s youth, what emotions first come to mind?

  • In general Females were more likely to say that “fear” was their primary emotion toward the future for today’s youth (16%) than males (10%).
  • All age demographics of females were equally fearful [18-34 – 17%, 35-44 – 16%, 45-54 – 16%, 55-64 – 16%, 65+ - 15%]
  • Respondents from the West were much less fearful (9%) than other regions of the US (14%, 14%, 14%).
  • 79% of adults agree with the following statement, “I am fearful of the future world we are leaving for today’s youth.”
  • Adult females are far more likely (82%) than adult males (75%) to be “fearful of the future world we are leaving for our children.”
  • Adults in the Northeast are more likely (84%) than adults from other regions of the US (78%) to be “fearful of the future world we are leaving for our children.”

4. OPTIMISM – 11%

When you think about the future for today’s youth, what emotions first come to mind?

  • 18-34-year-olds were far more optimistic (14%) than older populations (9.5%).
  • Southerners were less optimistic (9%), than other regions (12%).

5. FRUSTRATION – 7%

When you think about the future for today’s youth, what emotions first come to mind?

  • Females aged 18-34 were the most frustrated demographic with todays teens. [11% vs. all males (7%) and all other females (6%)]
  • 83% of female adults and 72% of male adults say they often get frustrated with the lifestyle choices (social media usage, work ethic, manners, and social habits), of today’s youth.
  • Mid-westerners are more likely (81%) to be frustrated with the lifestyle choices of today’s youth than other regions (76%).

6. EXCITEMENT – 5%

When you think about the future for today’s youth, what emotions first come to mind?

  • The two youngest demographics (18-34, 35-44) were much more likely (8%) to be excited for the future than other ages (2%).

Other Topics:

PARENTS

  • Parents of children under the age of 18 responded to this question in the same way, but with less volatility.
    • Concern – 39%
    • Hope – 17%
    • Fear – 16%
    • Optimism – 14%
    • Frustration – 8%
    • Excitement – 7%
  • Another way to say it: Today’s parents are far more like to have a negative emotion toward the future for their children (63%) than a positive one (38%).
  • However: Today’s parents are more hopeful (65%) for the future of today’s youth than adults without children (60%).

BELIEF

  • 87% of adults believe that “one of the best ways to encourage today’s youth is to believe in them.”
  • Adults over the age of 65 are the most likely (92%) to agree that “one of the best ways to encourage today’s youth is to believe in them.”
  • Females are more likely (91%) than males (84%) to agree that “one of the best ways to encourage today’s youth is to believe in them.”

AREAS OF CONCERN

Top concerns for younger adults: Mental health, school shootings

Top concerns for older adults: smartphone addiction, Alcohol/drug abuse

  • Adult females are significantly more likely (62%) than males (49%) to be concerned about issues like social media/smartphone addiction, mental health problems, school shootings, alcohol/drug abuse, and cyber predators.
  • Adults aged 18-34 are significantly more concerned (64%) about school shootings than other adults (52%).
  • Adults aged 65 and older are more concerned (73%) about social media and smartphone addiction than younger adults (66%).
  • Adults aged 18-34 are significantly more concerned (66%) about the mental health issues of today’s youth than are older adults (58%).
  • Adults in the Northeast region are far more concerned (62%) about drug and alcohol abuse than other regions (52%).
  • Adults in the Northeast (40%) and West (41%) are more concerned about global warming than adults in the Midwest (34%) and South (29%).
  • Adults from all socio-economic statuses are equally concerned about smartphone and social media addiction (67% avg.).
  • Adults from lower socio-economic statuses are more concerned about Mental Health issues (5% diff), School shootings (15% diff), Alcohol and Drug abuse (16% diff), and Cyber Predators (6% diff) that those from higher socio-economic categorires. (Less than 50K/yr HH income vs. Higher than 50K HH income)
  • Adults with children in their house hold are more concerned (46%) with cyber predators than adults without children in their home (39%).