The ‘American Dream’ Is No Longer Achievable, Poll Respondents Claim

The American Dream is out of reach, poll claims

By Rida Ahmed at HNHN.com | Jun 05, 2014 05:39 PM EDT

Nearly six in 10 people believe that the dream — however they define it — is out of reach, respondents told CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International. (Photo : CNNMoney)

Americans believe that the ‘American Dream’ is no longer achievable in this country, a survey revealed.

Nearly six in 10 people believe that the dream — however they define it — is out of reach, respondents told CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International.

Almost 63 percent of Americans claim that most children in the U.S. won’t be better off than their parents. Fifty-four percent of respondents, however, decline the theory and feel to be in a better position than their parents.

Economic mobility experts said the downbeat mood and discouraging beliefs are not surprising.

“The pessimism is reflective of the financial realities a lot of families are facing,” said Erin Currier, the director of the Economic Mobility Project at Pew Charitable Trusts. “They are treading water, but their income is not translating into solid financial security.”

Although higher incomes are enjoyed by a vast majority of Americans in comparison to their parents, it’s partly because most families have two earners now, she said. Only half are reported to have more wealth.

Meanwhile, the savings rate is low and unemployment is high. College costs are rising faster than inflation and student loan debt is exploding, according to CNNMoney.

The next generation’s fortunes are also seen in a more pessimistic light by people than their own children’s prospects, Currier said.

In Pew’s polls and focus groups, parents said that it will be tougher for their children to succeed, even though they believe it’s still possible.

Perceptions, however, aren’t supported by the facts, experts said.

“When asked how much would do the trick, just over half of people surveyed in CNNMoney’s American Dream poll said it would take less than $100, 000,” ClickOnDetroit reported.

“Nearly a quarter of the people who took the poll, conducted by ORC International, said between $50,000 and $74,999 would work. That calls to mind the results of a Princeton study, which found that emotional wellbeing rose with income, but not much beyond $75,000.”

The American Dream is not dead, said Ron Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Center on Children and Families.

CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll comes from telephone interviews with 1,003 adult Americans, conducted by ORC International from May 29 to June 1, 2014. Both landlines and cell phones were included in the sample.

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