New Delhi: A clear majority of adults across 17 advanced economies believe their children will be financially worse off as adults than themselves, a new survey showed, in a seeming indication of the Covid-19 pandemic’s psychological impact even as the overall view of the economies improved.
According to the survey conducted by non-partisan US-based fact tank Pew Research Centre, 68 per cent of adult respondents across economies like the US and the UK are pessimistic about their children’s future.
France (77 per cent), Italy (72 per cent), Spain (71 per cent), Japan (77 per cent) and the US (68 per cent) are some of the countries with the least optimistic opinion. However, 61 per cent in Singapore and 50 per cent in Sweden have an optimistic view.
The survey was conducted between 1 February and 26 May in 17 countries — Australia, the UK, Sweden, Belgium, South Korea, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, the US, Greece, Italy, Spain, Singapore, New Zealand and Taiwan.
Link with Covid
The report noted that people who say the Covid crisis has been “mishandled by their government and those who say the economy is failing to recover in ways that show the weaknesses of their economy are more likely to say that the current economic situation is bad and that children will be worse off financially than their parents”.
Pessimism has increased significantly in some countries post-Covid, especially in Italy, the US, Germany, South Korea and Greece.
While Americans and South Koreans are more pessimistic now than since 2013, the UK, Sweden, Australia and the Netherlands showed a different trend, with respondents becoming more optimistic about their children’s future in 2021 than they were in 2019.
Overall economic view is improved
The survey also delved into what people think about the national economic situation amid a pandemic. Views varied widely across the 17 economies, with 52 per cent believing that the situation is bad and 48 per cent believing that it’s good.
Sweden (86 per cent), Australia (74 per cent) and New Zealand (73 per cent) are the most hopeful countries while Spain (87 per cent), Italy (87 per cent) and Japan (80 per cent) are the least.
Respondents from Belgium, the UK and Canada are split on this, with a slightly higher percentage believing the national economic situation is bad.
“Among many publics, views of the national economy are more positive this year than last year. Positive assessments of the economy have risen the most in Australia, where 74% now say the economic situation is good, compared with only 36% in 2020. Positive views also rose in Sweden and the Netherlands, but even in 2020, majorities in these two countries still said the economy was good,” the report said.
Despite several lockdown measures to arrest the spread of coronavirus, views of the economy in Sweden and Australia have never been better before, since surveying began in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Between 2020 and 2021, barring the US (down by 1 per cent) and Spain (down by 2 per cent), all countries have shown more hope about the economic recovery than last year.
Views in a country’s economic condition were also found to be directly proportional to how the respondents thought the pandemic was handled.
“This is particularly the case in Germany and Canada, where those who say the outbreak has been handled well in their country are 38 percentage points more likely to say the economy is good compared with those who say the outbreak was handled poorly,” the report said.
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)