The current generation of young Americans are conflicted over money, reveals a recent survey of 13- to 24-year-olds. Poll results were reported in an Associated Press article.
The overwhelming majority of the 1,280 young people surveyed did not place money at the top of the list when asked what makes them happiest. Friends and family, followed by God, pets and pastimes, like listening to music, topped that list. Only one percent named money as the thing that gives them the most joy.
However, the lack of money, and the pressures this can cause, was cited as a source of unhappiness. And while a majority is happy with the amount of money they and their families have, money ranks as their fourth-highest source of stress.
In what seems contradictory, 49 percent say they would be happier if they had more money, but the exact same amount say additional money would leave them about as happy as they already are.
Many said they believe money will have a telling impact on their lives down the road. Asked to describe their ideal vision of happiness, 20 percent said that included having no financial worries and a good family.
Those in middle-income households express feeling the most financial pressure, even more so than lower-income people. Young people from the highest-income families seem happier with life overall. Eight in 10 of those earning $75,000 or more annually express happiness with life in general, compared with six in 10 with smaller incomes.
Money worries increase with age in the survey. Males are also likelier than females to say they are stressed about money and that they want to be rich.
Jerald Bachman, a social psychology professor at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, attributes this to the traditional role of men as the breadwinner.
Five percent of whites, 8 percent of blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics put money at the top of their unhappiness list.
Young people from the Northeast seem the most pressured by financial uncertainty. They are likeliest to list it as their chief reason for being unhappy and their main source of stress. The least financially stressed are those from the West and Midwest.
The Associated Press and MTV commissioned the poll. Knowledge Networks Inc. conducted the poll from April 16 to 23. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.