Despite their gloom among publics in many countries about their current economic situation and their pessimism about their children’s prospects, people generally believe that they are better off than their parents. Majorities in 14 of the 21 countries and pluralities in three more think they are doing better than the previous generation, according to a Pew Global Attitudes Project survey conducted March 17 to April 20.

The Chinese are the strongest believers in how far they have come economically, with 92% saying their standard of living is higher than it was for their parents. Close behind is another emerging economy, Brazil, where 82% sharing that belief. The view extends even to Spain, whose economic confidence has fallen more than any other country in the wake of the global downturn and who are among the most pessimistic about prospects for the next generation. About seven-in-ten (71%) Spaniards still recognize they have come a long way.

In the U.S., 60% said that their standard of living is better than it was for their parents’ generation. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.