Despite a lagging economy and the Gulf Oil disaster and a myriad foreign policy challenges sixty-one percent of Americans remain optimistic about the future of the country, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.
Even so, that level of optimism marks a significant drop from a similar survey a decade ago. Back in 1999 -- during a period of economic growth -- fully 70 percent of Americans said they were optimistic about the country's future.
In their recent survey, Pew asked Americans to speculate about what life will be like 40 years from now on topics ranging from technology to terrorism to the environment. Though
the majority of the public indicated that atrocities like war and environmental disasters are
inevitable, they are confident that the U.S. will make progress in the realms of technology and science.
On the whole, Americans believe life will be better in 2050. Sixty-four percent of Americans said the economy will be stronger, 71 percent said cancer will be cured and 68 percent said race relations will improve.
Moreover, 64 percent answered that overall, they are optimistic about life for themselves and their family. Even though most Americans believe our country will be facing major climate and
energy crises in 2050, 74 percent said they believe that alternative fuels will provide the majority of our energy.
Here is a sampling of other findings from the poll:
- 81 percent believe computers will be able to converse like humans.
- 58 percent think there will be another world war.
- 53 percent believe ordinary people will travel in space.
- 53 percent suppose there will be a major terrorist attack on the U.S. involving nuclear weapons.
- 53 percent believe the role of the U.S. in the world will be less important.
- 50 percent say healthcare will be more affordable (46% say less affordable).
- 49 percent think public education will improve (46% say will get worse).