Recession’s Hardest Hit Have Highest Hopes

February 21, 2011  |  

(Washington Post) — Despite severe losses during the recession, the majority of African Americans see the economy improving and are confident that their financial prospects will improve soon.  That optimism, shared to a lesser degree by Hispanics, stands in stark contrast to the deeper pessimism expressed by a majority of whites. In general, whites are more satisfied with their personal financial situations but also more sour about the nation’s economic prospects.

Those are among the findings of a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll that probed attitudes in the wake of a downturn that more than doubled unemployment and wiped away nearly a fifth of Americans’ net worth.  African Americans and Hispanics were more likely to be left broke, jobless and concerned that they lack the skills needed to shape their economic futures. But they also remained the most hopeful that the economy would soon right itself and allow them to prosper.

“Things are stuck in place right now,” said Faye Brown, an African American retiree from Detroit who said she has burned through her savings and watched the value of her home erode by $24,000 during the downturn. “But the newer generation – the technology generation – is going to make things better.”

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