American Public Still Optimistic About American Dream
Despite what the media would have you believe, the American dream is still alive and the public knows it.
According to Pew Research, less than 1 in 5 Americans believe that the American dream is out of reach for their family, while almost 2 in 5 believe that they have already achieved, and are now living, the American dream.
Given the media’s portrayal of minorities not believing the American dream is for them, these stats may be surprising. Hispanics, blacks, and whites all have similar levels of disenfranchisement, with 17%, 19% and 15% saying that fulfilling the American dream is out of reach for their family respectively.
But, there are stark differences between races in beliefs about whether they’re actually “living the dream.” While 41% of whites already believe they’re living the dream, only 17% of blacks and 32% of Hispanics see it this way.
These discrepancies are made up for by both the majority of blacks and Hispanics believing that they are on their way to achieving the American dream (62% and 51% respectively).
But what is the American dream?
Defined most aptly by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”
Essentially, the American dream has always been a meritocracy. Your success depends directly on your ability and nothing else.
This definition holds to this day, according to the American public.
Pew Research also shows that 77% of Americans believe that “freedom of choice in how to live” is important to the American dream, more than any other parameter. It’s more important than having a good family life and owning a home, or any sort of reason tied to material wealth.
The American dream is about choice and freedom. It always has been. And even with the constant barrage by the media and political class that the American dream is dead, the people still believe it is alive and well.