The fading belief in the American dream is evident in recent polls, reflecting a significant shift in American sentiment. According to a Wall Street Journal survey, only 36% of respondents believe that hard work still guarantees success in America. This is a stark decline from the 53% in 2012 and 48% in 2016 who felt the dream was attainable. The findings suggest a growing disillusionment with the notion that hard work and determination can ensure prosperity and a better life.
This pessimism is more pronounced among certain demographics. Women, for instance, are more doubtful about the viability of the American dream compared to men. Similarly, younger generations express greater skepticism than older individuals over 65. This generational divide highlights the increasing uncertainty about economic stability and upward mobility among the youth.
Another startling revelation comes from an NBC poll, where a mere 19% of participants expressed confidence that their children’s generation would be better off than theirs. This figure is the lowest ever recorded since the question began being asked in 1990. It underscores a deep-seated concern about the future and the erosion of optimism that once characterized the American outlook.
These surveys paint a picture of a nation grappling with economic insecurity and disillusionment with its socio-economic systems. They suggest a perception that the political and economic structures are skewed against the average worker, dampening the prospects of achieving the American dream. The significant increase in those who believe the dream was never a reality further emphasizes the growing skepticism about equal opportunities for success in the United States.
This shift in mindset reflects broader societal changes and challenges, including economic disparities, evolving labor markets, and changing social dynamics. It highlights the need for re-evaluating and possibly reforming the systems that underpin the American dream, to restore faith in the possibility of success through hard work and determination.