This post originally appeared on LearnVest.
If you’ve kept up with news headlines in the last few years, then you know: U.S. millennials have got it rough. After all, many are still living in their parents’ basements, and struggling to find decent employment so they can start paying down their massive student loans.
Yet somehow, young Americans still feel empowered when it comes to their ability to enjoy a bright future — at least when you compare them to their European counterparts.
That’s according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, which found that American millennials are much more likely to think that success — financial and otherwise — lies in their own hands.
In six of the seven European Union nations surveyed, more than half of millennials said they believe success in life is largely determined by factors they can’t control. (That number shot up to 63% in Germany and Italy.) Compare that to young Americans — just 43% felt success is shaped by external forces.
So how exactly do young Americans plan on achieving their dreams?
For many, schooling is key: 58% of U.S. millennials believe education is crucial for getting ahead in life. By comparison, just 21% of young French and 27% of young Greeks feel the same way.
Young Americans are even more inclined to believe in the value of putting your nose to the grindstone. A whopping 73% of U.S. millennials said hard work is key to getting ahead. Meanwhile, only 17% of young Greeks and 25% of young French said the same.
These results shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone. After all, U.S. millennials lived through a financial crisis that’s more or less over — but Europe’s financial struggles continue.
Moreover, it’s possible that this attitude difference may reflect an ongoing cultural divide. Previous Pew data suggest that even older Europeans tend to view themselves as victims of fate, while Americans are more likely to see themselves as powerful agents.
If you’re wondering whether young Americans are all talk and aren’t actually doing anything to shape their futures, get this: One study found millennials are saving more and saving earlier for retirement than the two generations before them.
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