A total of 70 percent of African-American students ages 15 to 18 nationwide believe their standard of living will exceed that of their parents, compared to 36 percent of White students, according to a poll conducted by Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y and released May 6.
Across all ethnic groups, 39 percent of students believed they would have a higher living standard.
According to the Associated Press, the higher level of optimism among Black teens may be related to their enthusiasm for President Obama, a phenomena some called the “Obama effect.”
“Since President Obama has been in office it has taught me that as an African American, I can do anything I put my mind to,” said Malcolm Bishop, a 16-year-old student at Cab Calloway High School in Wilmington, Del.
Preston Mccord, another 16-year-old student at Cab Calloway High School, echoed Bishop’s thoughts on the president.
“President Obama has inspired me because when he became president, I felt like I had to work twice as hard to be even better,” he said.
Over two-thirds of Black students in the survey described Obama’s performance in office as “good” or “very good” compared to 23 percent of White students. In total, about a quarter of surveyed students rated the president highly.
“I think a number of African-American publications and people in general have been somewhat encouraged by the results, noticing that there’s significantly higher optimism perhaps now, given in the past, now that we have the first Black president in office,” said Stephen Wu, Associate Professor of Economics at Hamilton University and overseer of the poll.
“On one hand I think it’s encouraging for African Americans in particular, but the fact that it hasn’t risen accordingly to Whites shows that race still matters even in this day and age in America, even among young people,” Wu said.