As if the news weren’t depressing enough these days, here is a study showing that minority teens are less hopeful they’ll see the age of 35 than white teens.
In a recently published study in the journal Health and Social Behavior, researchers mined the data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health — a cohort that initially included 20,745 teens questioned every few years between 1994 and 2008 on topics regarding their health and well-being.
Participants were asked how likely they were to live to age 35. The response choices ranged from “almost no chance” to “almost certain.”
Foreign-born Mexicans were the least optimistic, followed by second-generation Mexicans, then black teens, and then Puerto Ricans. Asian teens were also “significantly less optimistic about future survival relative to whites,” the study notes. The only outlier among the minority groups were the American-born Cubans, whose optimism for survival didn’t look all that different from that of the white teens.
Even controlling for neighborhood factors like violence and poverty, the authors found an optimism gap between black and white participants. Black youth, at least, appear to believe the world is more dangerous to them, regardless of where they live.
The one bit of hope in the study was a U-shaped curve for all the racial and ethnic categories. The older the teens of all races grew, the more confident they were of their survival,