Black and Hispanic millennials are more optimistic toward their futures than their white and Asian counterparts, according to a study released March 20 by the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations and the Richards/Lerma advertising agency.
The report, which surveyed 200 participants aged 18 to 34 from each race, found that black millennials had the highest faith in hard work, while white participants were the most pessimistic about following their dreams and taking pride in their country.
The report’s author, Chaille Alcorn, brand planning director at Richards/Lerma, said the study debunked several common stereotypes about millennials.
“A reasonable person may expect to uncover a sense for despair, apathy or hopelessness in black millennials given the state of race relations in America,” Alcorn said in an email. “We found the opposite. Almost all the findings in this report were striking and defied some commonly held perception and notion out there about each race and ethnicity.”
Hispanics were ranked as the most prideful of their country. Fifty-four percent said they were “very proud” to be an American, while only 40 percent of white millennials said they were.
White millennials ranked the highest in pessimism about the American dream and the ability to achieve theirs through hard work, followed by Asian millennials.
Alcorn said the research shows that the stereotype of Asians being a “model minority” is misleading.
“Those labels, although meant to be complimentary, do more harm than anything because they hide their struggle,” Alcorn said. “In the survey, Asian millennials expressed many unexpected fears, concerns and racial setbacks similar to their minority counterparts.”
Neuroscience sophomore Trisha Gupte said she feels more pessimistic about the idea that hard work can pay off.
“It really depends on the cards you’ve been dealt,” Gupte said. “Hard work isn’t always the deciding factor of where someone is going to go in life. The situation that you’re born in has an effect, too.”
Matthew Eastin, associate professor in the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations, helped collect data for the study. Eastin said the researchers’ main goal was to find nuances in attitudes of millennials, rather than treating them as one large group.
“Millennials are going to have a tremendous amount of population power,” Eastin said. “I think the sheer size of them warrants some investigation of a group that have a fairly large influence on society.”