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Horatio Alger’s State of Our Nation’s Youth

This year’s Horatio Alger report on the “State of Our Nation’s Youth,” based on a phone survey of 1,006 students between the ages of 13-19 is out, and offers a somewhat optimistic survey of teens despite the world’s condition.
Teens Pessimistic about Future of the Country, Optimistic About Themselves and Own Future
10th State of Our Nation’s Youth Report Provides Latest Views of Nation’s Teens

WASHINGTON (August 5, 2008) – Teens are feeling the weight of the world now more than ever, according to a new report issued today. There has been a steep drop-off in the number of students feeling hopeful and optimistic about the future of the country, falling from 75% in 2003 to just 53% today, a 22% decline in optimism over the past five years. Despite these declining views of a fading nation, teens are nonetheless positive as they envision their own futures. With 88% describing themselves as confident and 66% saying they feel optimistic about their own futures, they are making strides towards achieving success as young adults.
The 10th State of Our Nation’s Youth report was issued today by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. The report compiles the results of the national survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. The 2008-2009 report is a comprehensive study of American high school students’ opinions, apprehensions and aspirations. Highlights from this year’s survey include:
Presidential Election – 75% of teens say the election outcome will make a substantial difference in the direction of the country. Students’ biggest concerns are the economy and jobs (34%), and the war in Iraq (31%).
Global Warming – 72% of teens believe global warming is an urgent or serious problem. Caring about the environment is important to them, however the majority (58%) of teens do not consider themselves “environmentalists.”
Education in the Global Economy – To prepare themselves for the global economy, one in three teens say the most important school subjects are science and technology, and 38% wish their schools had more up-to-date technology.
Cyber Bullying – Of the14.9 million American high school students, 2.4 million (16%) reported that they have been a victim of cyber bullying, and a remarkable portion of teens, almost one-third (30%), now view online bullying as a greater threat then traditional bullying in schools.
Immigration – Teens are divided on immigration in the U.S., with 49% saying that it is more of a positive force then negative, while 40% have the opposite view. Teens’ opinions on immigration are in disagreement with their parents’ opinions, with only 39% of adults in another recent survey seeing immigration as a positive force.
“This year’s survey brings us valuable insight into American teens. They are confident, ambitious and optimistic in spite of the many challenges we all face as a nation,” said Peter D. Hart, president of Peter D. Hart Research Associates. “What emerges from the research results is a portrait of a generation who believe in themselves and their abilities, despite anxieties about the country.”
Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. has conducted more than five thousand public opinion surveys encompassing interviews with more than three million individuals over the past 30 years. This is the 5th State of Our Nation’s Youth survey that has been conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc.
The telephone survey included 1,006 students in grades nine through twelve and between ages 13 and 19. The sample of high school students was based on a compiled list provided by American Student List, the well-respected national list management firm, which specializes in maintaining lists of K-12 students. The survey sample closely matches U.S. Government (Census and Department of Education) statistics for age, area, race, and gender. The margin of error is ± 3.1 percentage points.
“A key mission of the Association is to invest in our nation’s teens, and with this research, we continue to utilize the tools to gain an understanding of America’s teens,” said David L. Sokol, President and CEO of the Horatio Alger Association. “Our aim is to initiate a dialogue between teens and the adults in their lives which encourages growth, appreciation, and most importantly success.”
The Horatio Alger Association is steadfast in its commitment to America’s youth. Its network of field directors works with public, private and parochial school administrators as well as state departments of education throughout the country to share the State of Our Nation’s Youth results across the United States and to market the Horatio Alger scholarship programs.
For more information on the State of Our Nation’s Youth report, please see the following link or contact Chelsea Cummings,, 202-683-3106/ Carrie Blewitt,, (202) 744-5270.
The State of Our Nation’s Youth Report in PDF form and Broadcast Quality Press Conference Video:
About The Horatio Alger Association
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. The Horatio Alger Association offers three annual scholarship programs: the National Scholarship Program and state scholarship programs, available to high school seniors in all 50 states, and the Horatio Alger Military Veterans Scholarship Program for U.S. veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. The Association awards more than $12 million annually in college scholarships and has given over $63 million to deserving students since 1984. The Association is a 2008 Combined Federal Campaign participant, ID# 77062. For more information about the scholarships, please visit”
Read the full report here.

Posted on: August 19, 2008, 3:15 pm Category: Uncategorized

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