Poll: Massachusetts young adults are optimistic about economic prospects and discerning about potential jobs, despite tough market

Despite high unemployment rates and a sluggish economy, Massachusetts residents 18 to 29 years old are optimistic about their economic situation, according to a poll by the MassINC Polling Group released today.  A total of 36 percent of residents in this age bracket believe their financial situation will improve in the year ahead and another 49 percent think it will stay the same.  Just 11 percent of young residents believe their situation will worsen over the next year.

This appraisal of the economy was a departure from the lower expectations among older residents.  Optimism was lower with each age group, with 28 percent of those 30 to 44, and 26 percent of those 45 to 59 expecting that their financial situation will improve in the year ahead.  Just 12 percent of those 60 or older shared this view, compared to 26 percent who thought their situation would be worse.  This downward trend with age echoed other questions in the poll about personal financial situations and the broader economy, each of which reflected a somewhat higher degree of optimism among residents under 30.

“Young people are upbeat on the economy even in the face of our country’s current challenges,” said Steve Koczela, President of The MassINC Polling Group who noted that the findings are of particular relevance in Boston, now home to the highest percentage of 20 to 34 year olds of any city in the country, according to the latest Census figures.  “More young people are reporting positive economic perceptions than negative ones on these questions, which is noteworthy given that these are the questions used to construct the index of consumer sentiment, an important indicator of views of economic conditions.”

The 18 to 29 year olds also hold unique wishes for their prospective jobs, with the most respondents calling “working in a job that is exciting for you” a “very important” priority and the fewest citing “a high salary.”  For other age groups, a strong benefits package topped the list of very important considerations and job excitement was in the middle of the pack of other considerations. 

The MassINC Polling Group conducted the poll on behalf of The MassINC Associate Board, an advisory group made up of young leaders in the state’s business, political and non-profit sectors.  The information will be presented by Koczela and used as a springboard for a discussion event this week called “Can we Make it in Massachusetts?,” a look at the economic and lifestyle factors that influence young people’s decision to reside in Massachusetts.

“Optimism is important when you consider hurdles like the high cost of living and a scarcity of good paying entry level jobs,” said Aimee Ward, founder of the MassINC Associate Board and coordinator of this week’s event. “I am really looking forward to testing these numbers out with our audience of young people here in Boston.”  

“Can we Make it in Massachusetts” will be held Thursday, July 14th at 6:00 PM at Ned Devine’s in Faneuil Hall marketplace.  


About the MassINC Polling Group : The MassINC Polling Group (MPG) is an independent, non-partisan organization providing public opinion research and analysis to public, private, and social sector clients. MPG is a full service opinion polling operation offering strategic consultation, a wide-ranging suite of analytical products, and high-level communication and outreach planning.  For more information visit www.massincpolling.com.

 About the Poll: These results are based on questions from the MPG MassPulse Quarterly Omnibus poll of 500 Massachusetts residents, conducted April 27-30, 2011. Live telephone interviews were conducted via both landline and cell phone. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish by Eastern Research Services. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.4 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. 

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