That's the lowest point since 1983 and Gallup, which conducted the poll with USA Today, said the highest-income Americans are among the least optimistic about the future.
The poll found that young people are more optimistic about their future than their parents.
It also indicated that Democrats are more hopeful about the future than Republicans. Sixty percent of Democrats believe today's young people will have a better life than their parents compared to fewer than one in three Republicans.
USA Today said polls by CBS News, The New York Times and the Roper organization all found that Americans are more pessimistic about the future now than in the past.
The most positive result over the years was in a December 2001 poll by CBS News and the New York Times in which 71 percent said American young people would have a better life than their parents.
During the presidency of George W. Bush, in 2008, more Republicans than Democrats were optimistic about the future for young people.
The poll was based on telephone interviews conducted April 20-23 with 1,013 adults, 18 and older, living in the continental United States. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.