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A Large Share of Americans Say Country is in Decline, a PEW Research Study Finds

In a research study conducted by PEW, Americans are pessimistic about the current and future state of the country.

The vast majority expressed dissatisfaction with the economy and overall national conditions.  “And when they look toward the not-too-distant future, they see a country that in many respects will be worse than it is today,” concluded a new Pew Research Center survey, reported by Andrew Daniller on April 24.

The majority of adults say that in 2050, “the U.S. economy will be weaker, the United States will be less important in the world, political divisions will be wider and there will be a larger gap between the rich and the poor. Far fewer adults predict positive developments in each of these areas.”

When asked if the US economy would be weaker or stronger, 66% of the respondents said they believed it would be weaker by the year 2050. And, 32% judged that it would be stronger.

A full 71% of respondents said the US will be less important in the world at that time in the future, while 27% said the US will be more important.

In the study, when participants were asked if the country will be more politically divided or less, 77% said more and 21% said less.

When asked if the gap between the rich and the poor will grow or get smaller, 81% said it would grow and 18% said the gap would get smaller.

“Americans’ negative views of the nation’s future are influenced by their bleak assessments of current conditions,” said the authors. “Only 19% of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country, while 80% are dissatisfied. Ratings of the economy remain largely negative, and an increasing share of the public expects economic conditions to worsen over the next year.”

There is an age gap. “Differences between older and younger Democrats account for most of this age gap. A sizable majority of Democrats 50 and older (80%) have at least some confidence in the country’s future. That compares with 62% of Democrats ages 35 to 49 and 53% of those 18 to 34. Among Republicans, by contrast, there are only modest differences on this question across age groups.