We don’t know when it began, but the American Dream seems to have earned itself a bad name, or at least the accusation of being irrelevant. We all have heard the American Dream is dead –here, here, and here – in too many headlines to list; a report just released last week declared 75% of Americans are losing faith in the Dream, and that just 1 in 5 say they are living it. But somehow, for something that is supposedly irrelevant or on life support, the American Dream finds itself in the news a lot, particularly lately. So let’s get to the bottom of this: do Americans care about the American Dream, or not?
Our headline likely gave away our findings, but we are an optimistic bunch who doesn’t believe in fear mongering. After polling a rolling sample of over 5,900 nationally representative U.S. adults, this is what we found through the quarterly ValueInsured Modern Homebuyer Survey:
- 75% of all Americans believe keeping the American Dream alive and well is personally important to them
- 3 in 4 Americans – including 75% of all Millennials – say the American Dream is still relevant “to someone like me”
- 7 in 10 Millennials (76%) believe they can achieve the American Dream; this is perhaps a disruption of modern wisdom that typically associates Millennials with being jaded or hopeless, but this pattern of optimism shows up in our survey consistently in every quarter
- 65% say the American Dream is not dead, but rather, it’s evolving; this is particularly true among Millennials, among whom 77% say what the American Dream means to them is different than what it means for their parents
Our findings indicate while most Millennials believe in the Dream, they don’t expect it to come easily. 78% believe it is harder for their generation to achieve the Dream. It is not a surprise given that across the past 6 waves of quarterly surveys, 8 in 10 Millennials (81%) assign owning a home as their top measure of the American Dream, and, unlike for their grandparents or even their parents, it is true that homeownership is harder to achieve, given the current record-high prices.
Another clear finding is that the Dream, while certainly not dead, is evolving, must change, and should be passed on to the next generation. 71% of all Americans and 77% of Millennials think the American Dream must change to keep up with changing times, with the younger generation believing the new Dream needs to be more agile and mobile, and defined by their ability to “pick up and move whenever and to wherever I want.” 73% Millennials expect the American Dream to continue to be relevant to their children, and 84% want their children to be able to achieve their American Dream.
Regionally, there are states that stood out as the strongest believers in the American Dream. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York, Texas, Tennessee top the lists:
“Keeping the American Dream alive and well is important to me”
- New York, 86% in agreement
- Arizona, 79%
- Georgia, 78%
- Texas, 78%
- Florida, 77%
“I want my children to be able to achieve their American Dream”
- Florida, 95%
- Tennessee, 95%
- Arizona, 90%
- Georgia, 89%
- Texas, 88%
Overall, Americans continue to be big believers in the American Dream. It is understandable that at times, headlines question its relevance, perhaps in times of economic downturns, political uncertainties, or as we watch closely today, the threat of severe weather. We trust that the current situations cannot break Texans’ and Floridians’ optimism and their commitment in the American Dream. We at ValueInsured wish them safety and speedy rebuilding of their great communities.