Young Americans are motivated to make a difference: AP-NORC, MTV Poll

His family immigrated from Mexico and he was raised in northwest Texas. He says he's never heard of any racial slurs. He decided to become an educator when he was 24 years old. The coronavirus pandemic wiped out his public schools for several months, and he lost his teaching job.

Young Americans are motivated to make a difference: AP-NORC, MTV Poll


Garcia and his fellow classmates have been forced to deal with the worst economic conditions since 1929, made worse by student loans, which have made it difficult to afford housing and healthcare.

Garcia says that despite the difficulties of Garcia's endless pursuit of the American Dream he is confident in the future. According to a poll by MTV and The Associated Press -NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, millennials and Generation Z Americans are more optimistic about the future and their ability create change than older generations.

The poll measured Gen Z Americans' attitudes between 13 and 24, as well as 25 to 40-year old millennials, 41 to 56-year-old GenX Americans, and 25- to 39-year-old millennials.

Garcia stated, "I know that perseverance is possible as long as people are willing to work hard and push through difficult times." "Me and my family have been proven to be such facts."

According to the poll, 66% of Gen Z Americans and 63% of millennial Americans believe their generation is motivated by positive change. This compares with 56% of Generation X Americans. These generations are more likely than Generation X that they feel they can influence what the government does. 44% of Gen Z, 42% of millennials and 31% of Generation X said they could at least moderately, compared to only 31% for Gen X.

Jonathan Belden (29), is a father to five children and has to be optimistic about the future.

The New Mexico resident stated that despite many challenges, the U.S. was the only place where there is as much opportunity without hindrance. "And I want my children to grow up in a place that allows them to succeed in whatever they do."

Although all three generations have different views on the future and the state of the country, poll results show that Gen Z and millennials don't feel as bad about the world they are facing.

Nearly half of millennials report that their standard of life is better than that of their parents, despite the fact that some are moving toward middle age. About half of Gen Z thinks their standard of living has improved over that of their parents, and only 25% think it has declined.

Moreover, half of Gen Z and millennials believe the world is worse than any generation, compared to 6 out 10 Gen X.

Many Gen Z and millennials are more optimistic about progressive policies that address race, gender, and class disparities.

About half of Gen Z and millennials support a universal basic salary, while 25% are against it. About a third of Gen X are for it, while roughly the same number are against.

About 3 out 10 Gen Z and Millennials support reducing funding for law enforcement agencies. 4 in 10 oppose it. Generation X is more opposed, with 56% voting against.

While there is little opposition from all three generations to workplace discrimination based on gender identity, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to support this policy than Gen X.

Despite the clear division in policy attitudes, Gen Z, millennials and Gen X are more optimistic than Gen. X that Americans can unite and resolve their differences (45% and 41% respectively, compared to 33%).

Belden stated, "When I speak to people and find common ground, that's where I find the greatest hope." "Even if there are differences it makes me feel that there is still goodness in the world, and that there's hope for the future.

Garcia agreed and said that although the past years were difficult, Garcia believes "I know eventually oneday, maybe not today but next year, but it will all be worth it."


The AP-NORC poll, consisting of 3,764 teens ages 13-17 years and adults ages 18 to 56, was conducted September 1-19. It used a combination of interviews from the NORC's probabilistic AmeriSpeak Panel and opt-in online panels. All respondents have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3%. AmeriSpeak panel members are randomly selected using address-based sampling methods. Respondents were then interviewed online or over the phone.

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