For instance, fifty six percent of the adult residents of Colorado Springs are "financial optimists," the highest percentage in the 85 metro markets surveyed in 2002 by The Media Audit, vs. Pittsburgh, which has the lowest percentage, 37.3. And the rationale goes like this:
African-Americans and Hispanics have greater percentages of the financial optimists in their groups than do Caucasians and Asians. In addition, younger adults, ages 18-35, have a greater percentage of financial optimists than older groups. In Colorado Springs 31.1 percent of the population is over age 50 and 16.9 percent of all adults are African-American or Hispanic. In Pittsburgh, 45.3 percent of the population is more than 50 years old and just 8.6 percent of residents are African-American or Hispanic. Colorado Springs has the greatest number of financial optimists in the 85 markets served by The Media Audit and Pittsburgh has the fewest.
Jordan says, "...If we were to apply the Colorado Springs/Pittsburgh analysis to the New York City metro market we would expect NYC metro to have a level of optimism higher than Colorado Springs. But it has fewer people over 50 and more African-Americans and Hispanics, so only 41.5 percent think they will be better off in six months."
Markets with the highest percentage of financial optimists are: Colorado Springs, Atlanta, Charleston (SC), Columbia (SC), Memphis, Norfolk-Virginia Beach, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Reno, and Houston-Galveston, all over 50%.
And markets with the lowest percentage of financial optimists are: Pittsburgh, Peoria, Madison, Des Moines, Hartford, Buffalo, Wichita, Spokane, New Haven, and, Columbia-Jefferson City (MO), all under 40%.
The aggregated numbers for all 85 markets show that 45.5 percent of all adults are optimistic, at least in the short-term, about their financial future. The percentage of optimists in each of six age groups shows a significant decline from the younger groups to the older groups:
Race also has a significant impact on financial optimism. Of the 17,968,000 African- Americans in the 85 markets, 58.2 percent expect to be better off in six months. Among Hispanics, 54.7 percent are optimistic while only 41.3 percent of Caucasians and 39.9 percent of Asians are optimistic. Says Jordan, "African-Americans are still significantly less affluent than the general population, but are steadily becoming more affluent and that, we assume, is the basis for their high levels of financial optimism."
It comes as no surprise to find that income impacts an individual's financial optimism. What may come as a surprise is that the level of financial optimism among the young, ages 18-34, is higher (59.3 percent) than it is among those who earn $100,000 or more a year (54.4 percent).
You can find out more in this pdf from The MediaAudit.