Blacks More Optimistic Than Whites About Economy

Despite being hit hard during the economic downturn, minorities are more optimistic than whites by the widest margin since at least 1987, according to a new report.

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Clients stock up on goods at a New York City supermarket-style food pantry. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Optimism among minorities in the U.S. about their economic future now outpaces that of whites by the widest margin since at least 1987, the Associated Press reports.

The findings come after the AP reported that four out of five adults have struggled with joblessness, near-poverty or dependence on welfare for at least part of their lives, the report says, with white pessimism about their economic future at a 25-year high. Still, optimism reigns among minorities who were hit hard by the recent economic downturn, the study shows.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research analysis shows that after years of economic attitudes among whites, blacks and Hispanics following similar patterns, whites' confidence in their economic future has plummeted in the last decade. Blacks and Hispanics, meanwhile, have sustained high levels of optimism despite being hit hard in the recent recession.

The findings come as President Barack Obama seeks to promote a broader message of economic opportunity amid a rising gap between rich and poor. The AP reported this week that 4 out of 5 U.S. adults have struggled with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least part of their lives, with white pessimism about their economic future at a 25-year high. More than 40 percent of the poor are white.

The AP-NORC analysis of data from the General Social Survey, a long-running biannual survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, found just 46 percent of whites say their family has a good chance of improving their living standard given the way things are in America, the lowest level in surveys conducted since 1987. In contrast, 71 percent of blacks and 73 percent of Hispanics express optimism of an improved life - the biggest gap with whites since the survey began asking.

Read more at the Associated Press. 

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