Forum 411: Great Expectations: Arizona Teens Speak Up

Reports and Publications
March 2009
Morrison Institute Staff

“Great Expectations: Arizona Teens Speak Up,” the fourth issue of Morrison Institute for Public Policy’s Forum 411 briefing series, offers insights into the state’s 600,000-plus adolescents from professionals who work with them every day and from teens themselves.

The success of today’s teens is particularly important because of the aging of society and Arizona’s high “dependency ratio,” or the number of children and seniors in relation to those of working age. Arizona has the nation’s second highest rate.

Arizona’s teens have aspirations. The question is whether Arizona will help young people with public policies that address risks, reward achievements, and expand opportunities.

Key findings include:

 • Asked about the essential elements of a “good life,” most teens chose “doing work that you enjoy” and “having a happy family”

 • Asked whether a college degree is key to a good future, 88% agreed

 • Two-thirds (67%) of teens said they do volunteer work

 • Most teens say they have lots of friends (84%), enjoy diversity (93%), and look forward to the future (78%)

 • Only 26% of teens agreed that “adults will leave the world in good shape for people my age”