More Americans feel the American Dream is slipping out of reach.
The American Dream endures for a majority of Americans, but it’s losing its luster. Our September trend report, “American Dream in the Balance,” tracks how perceptions of the Dream have shifted in the last four years, comparing findings from a recent JWT survey with those from a similar study we conducted in the run-up to the last presidential campaign. We found that while overall belief in the Dream remains strong—with 70 percent of respondents saying they personally believe in the Dream, down only 4 percentage points since 2008—enthusiasm for the concept is waning.
After four years of economic turmoil, with home prices sinking by nearly a quarter and millions of jobs lost, Americans are skeptical about the current and future viability of the Dream. For instance, just 4 in 10 believe the Dream is alive and well, down from 52 percent in 2008, according to our survey of 503 Americans conducted using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool. And many feel it’s only downhill from here: 64 percent say the American Dream will be harder to achieve in the future.