NEW YORK — From their relationships to their jobs to their money — even from they time they first roll out of bed — young white Americans are happier with life than their minority counterparts.
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According to an extensive survey of 1,280 people ages 13-24 by The Associated Press and MTV, 72 percent of whites say they are happy with life in general, compared with 51 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of blacks.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Martin Carpenter, 21, a black New Jersey resident. “There’s a lot of issues out there for African-American young adults. You can still go to certain places and feel uncomfortable, like you don’t belong there.”
Martin’s feeling about racism, real or perceived, was echoed in the survey: 28 percent of minorities believe race will hurt them in the quest for a better life. Among whites, 20 percent feel their race will help in getting ahead.
Destiny Brown, 17, a black Virginia high school student, said she has friends who were already passed over for work simply because their names sounded different: “I know sometimes your name — people will give you a hard time when you try to get a job.”
The difference in levels of happiness is not always stark, but it’s consistent. Among whites, 67 percent usually wake up happy in the morning; for minorities, the figure is 61 percent.
Those numbers extend into all aspects of life:
- Parents: Sixty-six percent of minorities are happy with their relationships with mom and dad, compared with 79 percent of whites.
- Sex: Sixty percent of white youths are happy with their sex lives, compared with 46 percent of minorities. Both groups are about equal on the sexual activity scale.
- Friends: Eighty-one percent of minorities are happy with their relationships with friends, compared with 88 percent of whites.
- Jobs: Fifty-one percent of minorities are happy with their jobs, compared with 64 percent of whites.
- Money: Forty-four percent of minorities are unhappy with the money they have, compared with 35 percent of whites.
- Grades: Sixty-three percent of minorities are happy with their school grades, while 73 percent of whites are satisfied with their marks. Barely half of the minority respondents say school makes them happy, contrasted with 60 percent of the whites.
The study also found a split in how the races perceive the keys to happiness.
Among minorities, the most important factor was lack of financial worries, chosen by one in four respondents. For whites, one in five people chose a good family.
Carpenter, one of the survey participants, spoke for the majority of minority youths who feel their race will not cause problems later in life.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I’m thinking on a smaller scale. In my community, it’s not that big a deal.”
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