Most of Europe is optimistic about the future, poll shows

by Ray Clancy on January 20, 2011

Euro optimism present in younger generation

People living in most European Union countries expect their lives will be closer to ideal five years from now with only Greeks and Romanians thinking it will be worse.

In around a third of the EU member states surveyed by Gallup, residents expect significant improvements over the next five years including highly developed countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Ireland, where average current life ratings are already relatively high, and Italians, whose current life evaluations fall somewhere in the middle.

In less highly developed countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary, and Lithuania, people give their present lives relatively low ratings but also have higher expectations for the future.

Optimists heavily outnumber pessimists in a number of countries. Some 57% of Lithuanians give their future lives better ratings than their present ones and more than 40% in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, and Italy expect their future lives to be better.

In a few countries, the share of optimists is much lower. In Greece and Romania, where severe budget cuts and high unemployment put a damper on economic expectations, about a quarter of respondents rate their future lives higher than their present ones. In countries where current average life ratings are already relatively high, such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria, majorities do not rate their future lives any differently.

In five countries, one in four or more rate their current lives better than their futures. Pessimism is higher in Greece (43%), Romania (34%), Portugal (29%), the Czech Republic (26%), and Malta (25%).

Young people across most of Europe are more likely than older people to rate their future better than their present. The survey found that 15 to 29 year olds are the most likely to expect to be better off in the future while those aged 65 and older are the least likely to predict improvement. In every country, the percentage of respondents who rate their own future better than their present condition decreases gradually with age.

In most countries, a majority of young people give their future lives higher ratings. The only exceptions are Belgium (35%), Luxembourg and the Netherlands (both 38%), and, among those with current low life satisfaction, Romania (47%) and Greece (41%).

Despite recent economic and financial troubles, most Europeans have not lost hope that their lives will improve, and young people continue to be very optimistic about their future overall. Even in some of the hardest hit countries economically, people seem to perceive the crisis as a temporary setback, expecting large improvements in the near future.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: