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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

'My future is bright,' teens believe

Young people are optimistic about their futures, reports ACT. More than 80 percent of those surveyed believe their lives will turn out well.

After all the stories about the mental health crisis among teenagers with more kids than ever reporting anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, who are these young optimists? They're high school students taking the ACT, so they're the kids who didn't drop out of school. Some are planning to apply to selective colleges, but others are taking the test because it's required of all students. On average, they're more likely to come from affluent families, which correlates with optimism about the future.

Black students were the most likely to say they'll have a better life than their parents, or that their children would have a better life than their own. Those from low-income families were significantly more optimistic than low-income white or Hispanic students.

The study, High School Students’ Perspectives on Their Futures, asked students about a range of possibilities including having a high-paying career, having an enjoyable career, being able to live where they want, financial security and having a life that turns out well overall, among other things.

Nearly one-third said the pandemic might have had a negative influence on their outlook, but overall they were remarkably sunny.

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