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The Atlantic/Aspen Institute
The American Dream
June 2015
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The American Dream
June 2015
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The Atlantic/Aspen Institute Survey 2015: The American Dream

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The Atlantic/Aspen Institute Survey 2015: Majority of Americans Express Optimism About Own Lives, Yet Believe American Dream Is Suffering

The American people are overwhelmingly optimistic about their own personal lives and ability to live the “American Dream” even as three fourths are worried the Dream is suffering overall, according to a 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute survey conducted by Burson-Marsteller and Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), and based on a quantitative online survey in the US among 1,988 General Population and 513 Broad Elites.

Published in: News & Politics
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The Atlantic/Aspen Institute Survey 2015: The American Dream

  1. 1. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 1 The American Dream Summary Report
  2. 2. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 2 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 PSB conducted an quantitative online survey in the US among 1,988 Gen Pop and 513 Broad Elites. Methodology Audiences PolledMethodology SAMPLING US Gen Pop Broad Elites Sample Size 1988 513 Margin of Error** ±1.75% ±3.58% TIMING: June 8 - June 19, 2015 Gen Pop Broad Elites • College graduate or higher • Income of $75,000 or more a year • Engaged with politics/technology Research Objectives:  Defining the Dream—associations and obtainability of the American Dream  Identifying barriers to the Dream—greatest obstacles to achieving the dream  Reducing Barriers—Identifying whether there is a need or not, who is responsible, and best methods to reduce barriers  Understanding American perceptions surrounding the American Dream today— core concepts of the dream, prevalence, and views on the nation as a whole 2
  3. 3. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The key takeaways The American Dream is perceived to be “suffering”  While majorities within almost all key demographic groups believe the American Dream is “suffering”, white Americans are more pessimistic than other ethnic groups.  Those over 65 years old are most likely to believe they are living the dream - 66% vs only 41% of Millennials (under 30 years old).  While most age and ethnic groups are split as to whether the dream is attainable for most or only a few Americans, strong majorities (over 60%) believe it remains achievable if you work hard.  White Americans are very pessimistic about their children’s/the next generation’s ability to achieve the dream, most other ethnic groups are much more optimistic. Americans upbeat about personal situation  Very few differences across age or ethnic groups in terms of satisfaction with life and optimism toward the future.  Non-white ethnic groups are somewhat more positive than white Americans.  While younger age groups are more attuned to technology (e.g. more likely to want the latest smartphone than latest model car), there are few real differences what they own or want.  While most millennials are somewhat more likely to want to live in urban areas than older age cohorts to live in urban areas, most (52%) still prefer a house in the suburbs.  The biggest difference in where people prefer to live is between white Americans and other ethnic groups. White Americans are much more likely to prefer a rural environment than other groups (31%, with the next highest preferring rural at 16%). Strong concerns that America is on the wrong track, and uncertainty about its future  While most believe America is on the wrong track, younger age groups are more optimistic than other age groups.  Similarly, non-white ethnic groups are more positive than white Americans.  White Americans are split as to whether America’s best days are ahead or behind, but African Americans (80%), Hispanic (63%) and Asian Americans (73%) are much more optimistic that America’s best days are ahead of it. 3
  4. 4. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 AMERICANS’ PERSONAL SITUATION 4
  5. 5. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Americans are satisfied with their lives and optimistic about the future Q12. How satisfied are you with your life? Q13. How optimistic are you about your future? 4 1 11 5 50 41 36 52 Gen Pop Broad Elites Optimism about Future 3 11 5 49 39 36 56 Gen Pop Broad Elites Satisfaction with Life 5 Very Satisfied Somewhat Dissatisfied Somewhat Satisfied Very Dissatisfied Very Optimistic Somewhat Pessimistic Somewhat Optimistic Very Pessimistic 85 95 86 93
  6. 6. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Most believe they have had or will have the opportunity to achieve both personal and professional goals Q14. Have you had, or do you believe you will have, the opportunities you need to achieve your personal goals? Q15. Have you had, or do you believe you will have, the opportunities you need to achieve your professional goals? 94 81 6 19 Broad Elites Gen Pop Do you believe you’ve had, or will have, the opportunity to achieve your personal goals? Yes No 88 73 12 27 Broad Elites Gen Pop Do you believe you’ve had, or will have, the opportunity to achieve your professional goals? Yes No • Broad Elites are more positive in this belief than Gen Pop 6
  7. 7. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 51-64 year-olds are the least optimistic about their ability to achieve their goals 82 75 82 85 18 25 18 15 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger Do you believe you’ve had, or will have, the opportunity to achieve your personal goals? Yes No 7 Q14. Have you had, or do you believe you will have, the opportunities you need to achieve your personal goals? Q15. Have you had, or do you believe you will have, the opportunities you need to achieve your professional goals? 73 66 75 77 27 34 25 23 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger Do you believe you’ve had, or will have, the opportunity to achieve your professional goals? Yes No
  8. 8. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 African-Americans and Hispanics are the most optimistic about their ability to achieve their goals 73 83 82 70 27 17 18 30 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White Do you believe you’ve had, or will have, the opportunity to achieve your professional goals? Yes No 8 Q14. Have you had, or do you believe you will have, the opportunities you need to achieve your personal goals? Q15. Have you had, or do you believe you will have, the opportunities you need to achieve your professional goals? 79 86 89 79 21 14 11 21 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White Do you believe you’ve had, or will have, the opportunity to achieve your personal goals? Yes No
  9. 9. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Most Americans feel secure about their personal financial situation Q16. How secure do you feel about your personal financial situation? 11 1 22 10 49 51 18 37 Gen Pop Broad Elites Personal Financial Security 9 Very Secure Somewhat Insecure Somewhat Secure Very Insecure 67 88
  10. 10. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 10 11 12 7 28 20 22 19 45 50 50 50 16 19 16 24 30 or younger 31-50 51-64 65+ Personal Financial Security Older Americans feel more financially secure than younger Americans Q16. How secure do you feel about your personal financial situation? 10 Very Secure Somewhat Insecure Somewhat Secure Very Insecure 61 69 66 74
  11. 11. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Asian and Hispanic Americans feel more financially secure than white or African-Americans Q16. How secure do you feel about your personal financial situation? 11 9 5 7 23 23 21 20 50 47 47 56 17 20 26 17 White African-American Latino/Hispanic Asian Personal Financial Security 11 Very Secure Somewhat Insecure Somewhat Secure Very Insecure 67 7367 73
  12. 12. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 3 1 8 8 18 9 45 49 27 31 Gen Pop N=1028 Broad Elites N=437 Happiness with Working Neither Happy nor Unhappy Completely Happy Somewhat Unhappy Somewhat Happy Completely Unhappy Most Americans are happy with their current employment Q27. Are you happy or unhappy in your job? 12 80 72
  13. 13. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 DEFINING THE AMERICAN DREAM 13
  14. 14. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q139. Which of the following are most important to your, personal, American Dream? Please select top 5 that apply. Most Important Characteristics of the American Dream Ranked by Gen Pop Gen Pop Broad Elites Living comfortably 41 38 Achieving financial security 37 41 Being debt-free 36 26 Providing a comfortable quality of life for your family 35 36 A healthy marriage 28 27 Owning a nice home 26 25 Having affordable healthcare 24 20 Pursuing happiness 23 22 Being free to pursue your personal or professional passions 18 20 Getting ahead through hard work 18 22 A healthy balance between my professional and personal lives 17 23 Helping others 16 15 Most Important Characteristics of the American Dream (cont.) Gen Pop Broad Elites Retiring when you want 16 18 Having access to a good education 14 17 Having kids 14 14 My children attending college 13 18 Lifelong friends 13 8 Having a job that has a meaningful impact on my community/society 9 12 Being/becoming wealthy 8 8 Living in a family-oriented suburban community 7 11 Americans view ability to provide a secure, comfortable life for themselves and their family as central to their own, personal American Dream Top Answers 14
  15. 15. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q139. Which of the following are most important to your, personal, American Dream? Please select top 5 that apply. Most Important Themes of the American Dream Ranked by Gen Pop Gen Pop Broad Elites Financial security 79 77 Achieving financial security 37 41 Being debt-free 36 26 Getting ahead through hard work 18 22 Retiring when you want 16 18 Being/becoming wealthy 8 8 Owning your own business 7 6 Traditional family values 67 71 A healthy marriage 28 27 Owning a nice home 26 25 Having access to a good education 14 17 Having kids 14 14 My children attending college 13 18 Living in a family-oriented suburban community 7 11 Comfort, quality of life 63 62 Living comfortably 41 38 Providing a comfortable quality of life for your family 35 36 Personal happiness 54 57 Pursuing happiness 23 22 Being free to pursue your personal or professional passions 18 20 A healthy balance between my professional and personal lives 17 23 Most Important Themes of the American Dream (cont.) Gen Pop Broad Elites Lifelong friends 13 8 Living near your peers 1 2 Helping others 24 24 Helping others 16 15 Having a job that has a meaningful impact on my community/society 9 12 Having affordable healthcare 24 20 Luxury 23 23 Owning a nice car 7 5 Taking yearly vacations 6 7 Traveling to other countries 5 6 Having the latest technology 4 4 Having a vacation or second home 2 3 Membership in exclusive social club or organization 1 1 Access to great technology and entertainment online 2 1 Living in a vibrant urban neighborhood 4 5 Other 1 0 Americans view Financial Security as central to their own, personal American Dream 15
  16. 16. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q139. Which of the following are most important to your, personal, American Dream? Please select top 5 that apply. Most Important Themes of the American Dream Ranked by 30 or Younger 30 or younger 31-50 51-64 65+ Financial security 80 75 80 83 Being debt-free 37 31 40 42 Achieving financial security 31 35 41 46 Getting ahead through hard work 17 17 19 22 Retiring when you want 13 13 20 20 Owning your own business 11 7 6 3 Being/becoming wealthy 10 11 4 2 Traditional family values 67 68 66 68 A healthy marriage 29 26 27 30 Owning a nice home 25 26 27 26 Having kids 20 15 10 11 Having access to a good education 14 14 14 18 My children attending college 13 17 12 8 Living in a family-oriented suburban community 8 9 4 4 Personal happiness 61 52 56 49 Pursuing happiness 32 23 18 15 Being free to pursue your personal or professional passions 18 18 19 19 A healthy balance between my professional and personal lives 18 18 20 11 Lifelong friends 17 9 15 15 Living near your peers 2 1 1 0 Most Important Themes of the American Dream (cont.) 30 or younger 31-50 51-64 65+ Comfort, quality of life 48 62 71 73 Living comfortably 31 39 47 49 Providing a comfortable quality of life for your family 21 38 38 42 Luxury 32 23 20 15 Traveling to other countries 9 5 3 5 Owning a nice car 6 7 7 5 Taking yearly vacations 7 6 7 5 Having the latest technology 6 5 2 1 Membership in exclusive social club or organization 5 1 0 0 Access to great technology and entertainment online 3 1 2 0 Having a vacation or second home 2 2 2 1 Helping others 22 23 24 29 Helping others 14 14 19 22 Having a job that has a meaningful impact on my community/society 9 10 7 11 Having affordable healthcare 11 20 33 38 Living in a vibrant urban neighborhood 7 4 3 2 Other 0 1 1 3 All ages view Financial Security as central to their own, personal American Dream 16
  17. 17. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q139. Which of the following are most important to your, personal, American Dream? Please select top 5 that apply. Most Important Themes of the American Dream Ranked by White White African- American Latino/ Hispanic Asian Financial security 79 80 79 71 Achieving financial security 39 31 33 38 Being debt-free 36 40 35 33 Getting ahead through hard work 19 12 22 12 Retiring when you want 17 16 10 12 Being/becoming wealthy 6 13 10 16 Owning your own business 5 13 7 8 Traditional family values 68 66 64 63 A healthy marriage 29 27 25 19 Owning a nice home 27 28 19 25 Having kids 15 13 15 8 Having access to a good education 14 11 16 14 My children attending college 12 15 15 10 Living in a family-oriented suburban community 5 11 9 13 Comfort, quality of life 67 54 51 51 Living comfortably 43 39 33 34 Providing a comfortable quality of life for your family 40 23 25 27 Personal happiness 57 51 46 66 Pursuing happiness 23 27 18 23 Being free to pursue your personal or professional passions 20 11 13 23 Most Important Themes of the American Dream (cont.) White African- American Latino/ Hispanic Asian A healthy balance between my professional and personal lives 18 13 18 25 Lifelong friends 14 11 11 14 Living near your peers 0 2 4 1 Having affordable healthcare 26 17 23 16 Helping others 23 32 21 23 Helping others 16 25 12 7 Having a job that has a meaningful impact on my community/society 9 8 11 16 Luxury 20 30 28 37 Taking yearly vacations 6 5 7 9 Owning a nice car 5 12 9 12 Traveling to other countries 4 9 8 9 Having the latest technology 3 1 7 12 Having a vacation or second home 2 3 2 5 Membership in exclusive social club or organization 1 3 4 0 Access to great technology and entertainment online 1 3 1 1 Living in a vibrant urban neighborhood 3 6 6 3 Other 1 1 0 0 All ethnicities view Financial Security as central to their own, personal American Dream 17
  18. 18. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q139. Which of the following are most important to your, personal, American Dream? Please select top 5 that apply. Most Important Themes of the American Dream Ranked by Gen Pop Parents Non- Parent Financial Security 77 82 Achieving financial security 36 39 Being debt-free 35 39 Getting ahead through hard work 19 18 Retiring when you want 15 17 Being/becoming wealthy 7 9 Owning your own business 6 8 Traditional family values 74 58 A healthy marriage 30 24 Owning a nice home 28 23 Having access to a good education 15 14 Having kids 18 9 My children attending college 20 5 Living in a family-oriented suburban community 8 5 Comfort, quality of life 66 58 Living comfortably 41 40 Providing a comfortable quality of life for your family 40 28 Personal happiness 52 58 Pursuing happiness 21 25 Being free to pursue your personal or professional passions 17 20 A healthy balance between my professional and personal lives 17 17 Most Important Themes of the American Dream (cont.) Parents Non- Parent Lifelong friends 11 16 Living near your peers 1 1 Having affordable healthcare 25 23 Helping Others 23 25 Helping others 16 17 Having a job that has a meaningful impact on my community/society 8 11 Luxury 20 27 Owning a nice car 5 8 Taking yearly vacations 7 6 Traveling to other countries 4 8 Having the latest technology 3 5 Having a vacation or second home 2 2 Membership in exclusive social club or organization 1 2 Access to great technology and entertainment online 2 2 Living in a vibrant urban neighborhood 4 5 Other 1 1 Compared to Non-Parents, Parents view Traditional family values as central to their own, personal American Dream 18
  19. 19. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 19 The American Dream in their own words “Stability in the economy, freedom from terrorism, safe community environment, less government, good jobs.” – Gen Pop “Ability to afford a home, a good education at reasonable cost, a job that would provide stepping stone for advancement.” – Broad Elite “Where a person can achieve their goals .” – Broad Elite “Being able to work hard and get ahead.” – Broad Elite “Live in a world where it is healthy to breathe clean air, drink clean water, have access to low cost medical care. Provide for your family and have a roof of their head. Not be afraid to go out for fear of being shot or killed.” – Gen Pop “Having enough of what you need to be comfortable and enough to share with those who have little. A home to live in, clothes to wear, food to eat. Friends to share with and a family close enough to visit with.” – Gen Pop “Next generation should do better than the previous generation.” – Gen Pop “Able to have free or inexpensive medical care, reasonably priced housing, reasonably priced education, lots of job opportunities with a reasonable wage.” – Gen Pop “Being able to get a good education and buy a home without being in debt the rest of your life.” – Gen Pop “Depends on your circumstances, for some it is just making it to tomorrow while others it is making the next billion.” – Gen Pop “Financial stability along with pursuing your passions.” – Broad Elite “The ability to come up from nothing to achieve a comfortable life.” – Broad Elite “Own a home, good education for kids, no debt.” – Broad Elite “It’s different for every individual, it has no one definition.” – Broad Elite
  20. 20. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q140.mA-Q170.mA. How attainable are each of the following for the average American? Most believe that the key characteristics of the American Dream are achievable 20 76 60 53 77 89 74 49 85 72 87 82 68 62 87 94 78 52 92 82 92 Living comfortably Achieving financial security Being debt-free Providing a comfortable quality of life for your family A healthy marriage Owning a nice home Having affordable healthcare Pursuing happiness Being free to pursue your personal or professional passions Getting ahead through hard work How Attainable are the Most Important Characteristics of the American Dream? Top 10 Most Important Elements of American Dream Shown Top 2 Box Shown Ranked by Most Important GenPop Broad Elite
  21. 21. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q129. Which of the following do you associate with the term “American Dream”? Please select all that apply. Americans most commonly see the American Dream as Inspiring, Motivating, and Patriotic 44 43 36 27 27 27 21 21 17 17 7 7 3 57 57 42 37 27 23 17 18 11 20 5 5 2 Inspiring Motivating Patriotic Essential Realistic Old-Fashioned Misleading Cliché Impossible Unique Fraudulent Irrelevant Other Characteristics Associated with the American Dream Gen Pop Broad Elites 21
  22. 22. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q129. Which of the following do you associate with the term “American Dream”? Please select all that apply. Younger audiences think that the American Dream is Inspiring or Motivating, but are also more likely to view it as Old-fashioned, Misleading, and Cliché 38 38 35 32 33 28 21 17 17 19 13 11 2 38 41 27 20 35 19 27 20 24 18 5 8 1 47 49 23 19 36 18 29 15 33 14 5 5 4 58 52 21 14 43 16 35 11 40 17 3 4 5 Motivating Inspiring Old-Fashioned Misleading Patriotic Cliché Realistic Impossible Essential Unique Irrelevant Fraudulent Other Characteristics Associated with the American Dream 30 or under 31-50 51-64 65+ 22
  23. 23. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q175. Do you think getting married is part of the American dream? Q176. Do you think having children is part of the American dream? When asked directly, roughly half of all respondents indicate that getting married and having children are part of the American Dream 51 51 62 51 42 47 Gen Pop Elites 30 or under 31-50 51-64 65+ Is Marriage Part of the American Dream? % Yes Shown 55 57 62 55 48 53 Gen Pop Elites 30 or under 31-50 51-64 65+ Is Having Children Part of the American Dream? % Yes Shown • Millennials especially view marriage and children as part of the American Dream 23
  24. 24. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 THE STATE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM 24
  25. 25. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q130. Do you believe you are living the American Dream? Q132. Do you believe you will have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream in your lifetime? Half of the general population and three quarters of Elites believe they are living the American Dream 28 14 22 14 50 72 Gen Pop Broad Elites Do you believe you are living the American Dream? Not living the dream, and don't believe they can Not living the dream, but believe they can Living the dream 25 • 72% believe they are currently living or will be able to attain the dream in the future
  26. 26. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q130. Do you believe you are living the American Dream? Q132. Do you believe you will have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream in your lifetime? Older Americans and Asians are most likely to believe they have achieved the Dream 24 26 37 26 32 19 17 18 36 26 12 7 17 39 28 27 41 48 51 66 51 43 55 55 30 or under 31-50 51-64 65+ White African American Latino/Hispanic Asian Do you believe you are living the American Dream? Not living the dream, and don't believe they can Not living the dream, but believe they can Living the dream 26 • Those who are both older and have not yet achieved the Dream are less likely to think they will have the opportunity to achieve the Dream • White Americans are the least optimistic about their opportunity to achieve the Dream
  27. 27. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q131. Why do you believe [you are/ are not living the American Dream]? Attaining security for themselves or their children is key issue for many in determining whether they believe they have achieved the American Dream I believe that I am living the American Dream because… “I have achieved more in education and financially than my parents and grandparents.” – Gen Pop “Because so far I've been able to do the things that I feel define it for me and it appears as though my children will have at least that same opportunity now that their time is fast approaching.” – Broad Elite I do not believe that I am living the American Dream because… “Because I struggle to pay all the bills that I have to keep a roof over my families head, and also put food on the table.” – Gen Pop “Our government is limiting our ability to attain the American Dream. They are taking away capitalism and gaining too much control.” – Broad Elite “No house with the picket fence for me! No happily ever after.” – Gen Pop 27
  28. 28. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Americans who are living the Dream are much more secure about their finances Q16. How secure do you feel about your personal financial situation? 28 2 1913 32 56 42 29 7 Living the Dream Not Living the Dream Feelings About Personal Financial Security Very Secure Somewhat Insecure Somewhat Secure Very Insecure 85 49
  29. 29. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q128. Which of the following is closer to your view? Most Americans believe that the American Dream is “suffering” 35 25 65 75 Broad Elites Gen Pop The American Dream is… Alive and Well Suffering 29
  30. 30. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Younger and Non-White Americans are more optimistic about the state of the American Dream 47 36 43 19 53 64 57 81 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White The American Dream is… Alive and Well Suffering 21 17 29 31 79 83 71 69 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger The American Dream is… Alive and Well Suffering 30 Q128. Which of the following is closer to your view?
  31. 31. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q202. Which of the following is closer to your view? Americans perceive the obstacles to attaining the American Dream to be more severe today than in the past 34 31 66 69 Broad Elites Gen Pop Obstacles to Realizing the American Dream Obstacles to realizing the American Dream are no more severe today than they’ve ever been Obstacles to realizing the American Dream are more severe today than ever 31
  32. 32. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Older and White/ Hispanic Americans are more likely to believe the obstacles to the Dream are more severe than ever 35 24 42 30 65 76 58 70 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White Obstacles to Realizing the American Dream Obstacles to realizing the American Dream are no more severe today than they’ve ever been Obstacles to realizing the American Dream are more severe today than ever 31 27 33 32 69 73 67 68 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger Obstacles to Realizing the American Dream Obstacles to realizing the American Dream are no more severe today than they’ve ever been Obstacles to realizing the American Dream are more severe today than ever 32 Q202. Which of the following is closer to your view?
  33. 33. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q136. Do you think it will be harder or easier for your children or future generations to achieve the American Dream? (Top 2 Box: Much Harder + Somewhat Harder) Most believe that attaining the American Dream will be harder for their kids or future generations 73 70 Harder Future Generations Attaining the American Dream Bottom 2 Box “Much + Somewhat Harder” Shown Gen Pop Broad Elites 33
  34. 34. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q133. Which of the following is closer to your view? Americans are split on whether the American Dream is attainable by most or only a few Americans 62 51 38 49 Broad Elites Gen Pop The American Dream is… Attainable by most Americans Attainable by only a few • Elites are more optimistic 34
  35. 35. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Younger and Financially Insecure Americans are more likely to believe the Dream is only attainable by a few 51 59 48 50 49 41 52 50 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White The American Dream is… Attainable by most Americans Attainable by only a few 60 49 51 45 40 51 49 55 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger The American Dream is… Attainable by most Americans Attainable by only a few 35 Q133. Which of the following is closer to your view? 32 60 68 40 Financially Insecure Financially Secure The American Dream is… Attainable by most Americans Attainable by only a few
  36. 36. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q137. Which of the following is closer to your view? The American Dream remains relevant and important to what it means to be an American 80 72 20 28 Broad Elites Gen Pop Relevance of the American Dream Remains a relevant and important Dated and no longer important 36
  37. 37. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q134. Which of the following is closer to your view? Most believe the Dream is achievable if you work for it 71 65 29 35 Broad Elites Gen Pop The American Dream is… Still achievable for those who are willing to work for it No longer a possibility for most Americans no matter how hard they work 37
  38. 38. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Older and Non-White Americans are more likely to believe that the American Dream is still achievable if you work for it 72 70 74 63 28 30 26 37 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White The American Dream is… Still achievable for those who are willing to work for it No longer a possibility for most Americans no matter how hard they work 69 61 65 66 31 39 35 34 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger The American Dream is… Still achievable for those who are willing to work for it No longer a possibility for most Americans no matter how hard they work 38 Q134. Which of the following is closer to your view?
  39. 39. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q135. Which of the following has the most impact on your ability to attain the American Dream? Hard work is more important to achieving the Dream than where you are born or Luck 28 61 11 24 67 9 Circumstances you are born into Hard work Luck Factors Involved in Attaining the American Dream Gen Pop Broad Elites 39
  40. 40. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 BARRIERS TO THE AMERICAN DREAM 40
  41. 41. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q178.mA. Please rank each of the following from the greatest barrier/ obstacle to achieving the American Dream to the least. Top 3 Barriers/Obstacles to The Dream Gen Pop Broad Elites Decline of work ethic 22 23 Decline of values/moral standards 20 21 Personal debt 20 17 Rules favor the wealthy 19 17 Lack of economic opportunity 18 14 Economic inequality 17 21 Big government 17 19 Decline of the middle class 17 15 Cost of healthcare 15 12 High government spending 14 16 Unequal access to education 13 15 Obamacare 12 8 Excessive government regulations 11 13 Top 3 Barriers/Obstacles to The Dream (Cont.) Gen Pop Broad Elites Racial discrimination 10 12 Political Gridlock 10 11 Lack of government policies to support economic growth 10 10 Access to affordable housing 10 9 Too much immigration 10 7 Lack of socio-economic mobility 7 9 Lack of government support for programs for the disadvantaged 7 6 Erosion of personal liberties 6 7 Lack of immigration reform 6 6 Gender discrimination 5 6 Lack of access to technology tools and training 5 5 Decline in work ethic, rules favoring the wealthy and personal debt are frequently mentioned barriers to the American Dream 41 Top Answers
  42. 42. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q178.mA. Please rank each of the following from the greatest barrier/ obstacle to achieving the American Dream to the least. Top 3 Barriers/Obstacle Themes to The Dream Ranked by Gen Pop Gen Pop Broad Elites Lack of opportunity 71 67 Rules favor the wealthy 19 17 Lack of economic opportunity 18 14 Economic inequality 17 21 Decline of the middle class 17 15 Unequal access to education 13 15 Access to affordable housing 10 9 Lack of socio-economic mobility 7 9 Lack of government support for programs for the disadvantaged 7 6 Lack of access to technology tools and training 5 5 Government 46 48 Big government 17 19 High government spending 14 16 Obamacare 12 8 Excessive government regulations 11 13 Lack of government policies to support economic growth 10 10 Top 3 Barriers/Obstacle Themes to The Dream (Cont.) Gen Pop Broad Elites Values 36 38 Decline of work ethic 22 23 Decline of values/moral standards 20 21 Erosion of personal liberties 6 7 Personal debt 20 17 Cost of healthcare 15 12 Discrimination 14 17 Racial discrimination 10 12 Gender discrimination 5 6 Political gridlock 10 11 Too much immigration 10 7 Lack of immigration reform 6 6 Lack of Opportunity is the most frequently mentioned theme about barriers to the American Dream 42
  43. 43. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q178.mA. Please rank each of the following from the greatest barrier/ obstacle to achieving the American Dream to the least. Top 3 Barriers/Obstacle Themes to The Dream Ranked by Democrat Democrat Independent Republican Lack of opportunity 82 74 54 Rules favor the wealthy 27 18 10 Economic inequality 24 18 10 Lack of economic opportunity 22 19 13 Decline of the middle class 18 16 16 Unequal access to education 16 14 9 Access to affordable housing 13 10 7 Lack of government support for programs for the disadvantaged 10 6 3 Lack of socio-economic mobility 7 8 7 Lack of access to technology tools and training 5 6 3 Government 37 45 58 Lack of government policies to support economic growth 11 9 9 Big government 9 18 25 High government spending 9 16 18 Obamacare 9 10 18 Excessive government regulations 8 10 17 Top 3 Barriers/Obstacles Themes to The Dream (Cont.) Democrat Independent Republican Values 26 38 44 Decline of work ethic 14 24 28 Decline of values/moral standards 14 20 26 Erosion of personal liberties 3 7 8 Personal debt 21 18 20 Discrimination 21 10 9 Racial discrimination 16 7 6 Gender discrimination 7 3 3 Cost of healthcare 14 17 12 Political gridlock 11 8 11 Too much immigration 7 10 13 Lack of immigration reform 5 6 7 Republicans view Government as the biggest barrier to the dream, while Democrats and Independents view it as Lack of Opportunity 43
  44. 44. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q178.mA. Please rank each of the following from the greatest barrier/ obstacle to achieving the American Dream to the least. Top 3 Barriers/Obstacle Themes to The Dream Ranked by White White African- American Latino/ Hispanic Asian Lack of opportunity 67 84 77 82 Rules favor the wealthy 18 20 18 32 Lack of economic opportunity 17 18 22 23 Economic inequality 17 18 20 15 Decline of the middle class 18 15 16 11 Unequal access to education 11 16 17 17 Access to affordable housing 10 10 11 11 Lack of government support for programs for the disadvantaged 6 10 6 9 Lack of socio-economic mobility 7 11 8 7 Lack of access to technology tools and training 4 7 6 10 Government 48 41 46 40 Big government 20 5 12 15 High government spending 16 9 12 8 Excessive government regulations 13 8 6 11 Obamacare 13 8 16 6 Lack of government policies to support economic growth 8 17 13 12 Top 3 Barriers/Obstacles Themes to The Dream (Cont.) White African- American Latino/ Hispanic Asian Values 39 34 23 23 Decline of work ethic 24 17 17 6 Decline of values/moral standards 22 22 12 11 Erosion of personal liberties 6 4 4 9 Personal debt 19 21 20 22 Cost of healthcare 16 11 13 18 Political gridlock 10 7 7 10 Too much immigration 11 2 13 11 Discrimination 9 32 22 17 Racial discrimination 6 28 16 11 Gender discrimination 4 8 7 8 Lack of immigration reform 5 7 8 6 All ethnicities mention Inequality most frequently when thinking about barriers to the American Dream 44
  45. 45. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q203. Does action need to be taken to reduce the barriers to the American Dream? The majority of respondents think action needs to be taken immediately to reduce the barriers to the Dream 68 19 13 74 15 11 Yes, immediately Yes, in the future No Does Action Need to Be Taken to Reduce Barriers to the American Dream Gen Pop Broad Elites 45
  46. 46. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q204. What can be done to reduce the barriers to the American Dream? More government cooperation and increased educational opportunities are suggested ways to reduce barriers to the Dream What can be done to reduce barriers to the American Dream… Asked only of those who believe action needs to be taken “Improving the education system, raise taxes on the rich, and give more resources to the lower class.” – Gen Pop “Get rid of many government regulations, reduce taxes, enforce current law rather than creating multiple new laws.” – Broad Elite “Make college affordable, stop policies that encourage companies to either ship jobs overseas or only use part-time help, increase wages, and rein in healthcare costs.” – Gen Pop “Reduce government spending. Reduce big government. Lower taxes.” – Broad Elite 46
  47. 47. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q205. Which of the following could have the most impact in reducing the barriers to the American Dream? Please select your top three. Making college free or much more affordable and Reducing government spending are among top three ways to reduce barriers to American Dream Reducing Barriers to The American Dream Ranked by Gen Pop Gen Pop Broad Elites Make college free or much more affordable 24 23 Reduce government spending 23 19 Increase taxes on the wealthy 21 18 Increase economic growth by cutting taxes 20 23 Increase minimum wage nationwide 20 16 Fix our public schools 17 18 Reduce immigration 14 12 Emphasize work ethic and personal accountability 14 17 Repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) 14 14 Increase economic growth by reducing regulation 13 16 Provide free job training 12 7 Expand access to free healthcare 11 10 Improve access to quality education in poor communities 10 17 End race-based discrimination 10 9 Expand access to affordable housing 10 6 Reducing Barriers to The American Dream (cont.) Gen Pop Broad Elites Increase taxes on corporations 9 11 Reduce political partisanship 9 13 Immigration reform 8 10 Eliminate regulations that limit personal liberties 7 8 Increase funding of anti-poverty programs 7 6 Increase support for entrepreneurship 6 8 End gender-based discrimination 5 4 47 Top Answers
  48. 48. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q205. Which of the following could have the most impact in reducing the barriers to the American Dream? Please select your top three. Americans believe that policies to Expand Access/Opportunities would have the most impact in reducing barriers to American Dream Reducing Barriers to The American Dream Ranked by Gen Pop Gen Pop Broad Elites N-size 1690* 453* Expanding access/opportunities 55 50 Make college free or much more affordable 24 23 Provide free job training 12 7 Expand access to free healthcare 11 10 Improve access to quality education in poor communities 10 17 Expand access to affordable housing 10 6 Increase funding of anti-poverty programs 7 6 Reduce government 52 53 Reduce government spending 23 19 Increase economic growth by cutting taxes 20 23 Repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) 14 14 Increase economic growth by reducing regulation 13 16 Eliminate regulations that limit personal liberties 7 8 Redistribution 41 35 Increase taxes on the wealthy 21 18 Increase minimum wage nationwide 20 16 Increase taxes on corporations 9 11 Reducing Barriers to The American Dream (cont.) Gen Pop Broad Elites Work ethic, entrepreneurship 20 23 Emphasize work ethic and personal accountability 14 17 Increase support for entrepreneurship 6 8 Discrimination 19 16 End race-based discrimination 10 9 End gender-based discrimination 5 4 Fix our public schools 17 18 Reduce immigration 14 12 Reduce political partisanship 9 13 Immigration reform 8 10 Other 2 2 48 *Asked of only those that indicated action needs to be taken
  49. 49. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q205. Which of the following could have the most impact in reducing the barriers to the American Dream? Please select your top three. Democrats and Independents focus on Expand Access/Opportunities to reduce barriers to the Dream, while Republicans Focus on Reducing Government Reducing Barriers to The American Dream Ranked by Democrat Democrat Independent Republican N-Size 593* 496* 465* Expanding access/opportunities 68 56 38 Make college free or much more affordable 31 23 18 Expand access to free healthcare 14 11 7 Improve access to quality education in poor communities 13 11 6 Provide free job training 12 14 8 Expand access to affordable housing 12 10 6 Increase funding of anti-poverty programs 10 6 3 Redistribution 57 37 27 Increase taxes on the wealthy 28 20 15 Increase minimum wage nationwide 29 19 10 Increase taxes on corporations 12 8 6 Reduce government 36 52 71 Reduce government spending 15 23 31 Increase economic growth by cutting taxes 13 21 27 Repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) 7 13 24 Increase economic growth by reducing regulation 5 13 24 Eliminate regulations that limit personal liberties 4 7 11 Reducing Barriers to The American Dream (cont.) Democrat Independent Republican Discrimination 19 18 20 End race-based discrimination 16 8 4 End gender-based discrimination 9 4 2 Fix our public schools 18 18 17 Work ethic, entrepreneurship 14 21 29 Emphasize work ethic and personal accountability 9 15 23 Increase support for entrepreneurship 5 8 7 Reduce immigration 11 15 18 Reduce political partisanship 7 9 9 Immigration reform 7 10 10 49 *Asked of only those that indicated action needs to be taken
  50. 50. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q205. Which of the following could have the most impact in reducing the barriers to the American Dream? Please select your top three. All ethnicities believe that Reduce Government has the most impact in reducing barriers to American Dream Reducing Barriers to The American Dream Ranked by White White African- American Latino/ Hispanic Asian N-Size 1285* 155* 129* 89* Reduce government 56 42 36 49 Reduce government spending 26 16 11 15 Increase economic growth by cutting taxes 21 17 12 21 Repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) 17 5 7 11 Increase economic growth by reducing regulation 15 6 8 17 Eliminate regulations that limit personal liberties 8 5 7 4 Expanding access/opportunities 50 68 67 64 Make college free or much more affordable 23 32 26 23 Provide free job training 10 11 18 18 Expand access to free healthcare 10 9 16 16 Improve access to quality education in poor communities 10 13 8 21 Expand access to affordable housing 9 13 15 4 Increase funding of anti-poverty programs 6 6 11 7 Redistribution 39 53 43 39 Increase taxes on the wealthy 21 24 23 18 Increase minimum wage nationwide 19 32 21 17 Increase taxes on corporations 9 4 10 9 Reducing Barriers to The American Dream (cont.) White African- American Latino/ Hispanic Asian Work ethic, entrepreneurship 22 16 15 26 Emphasize work ethic and personal accountability 17 10 9 13 Increase support for entrepreneurship 7 7 5 12 Discrimination 19 17 23 19 End race-based discrimination 6 30 11 14 End gender-based discrimination 4 6 10 8 Fix our public schools 16 22 16 17 Reduce immigration 16 11 14 11 Reduce political partisanship 11 3 4 4 Immigration reform 8 6 11 8 50 *Asked of only those that indicated action needs to be taken
  51. 51. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q206. Who has the primary responsibility for overcoming the barriers to the American Dream ? Americans believe the Government, and individuals are most responsible for overcoming barriers to the American Dream 44 40 7 3 2 4 43 40 6 2 3 6 Government The individual Businesses Civic and community organizations Unions/labor organizations Schools Responsible Parties for Overcoming Barriers to the American Dream Gen Pop Broad Elites 51
  52. 52. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q173. Which of the following is closer to your view? Q174. How does your race impact your ability to achieve the American dream? Roughly one-third of Americans believe race is an important factor for attaining the American Dream, though most don’t believe it has affected them personally 30 22 53 60 17 18 Broad Elites Gen Pop The Impact of Race on Achieving the American Dream Probably helps me Probably has no impact for me Probably makes it more difficult for me 39 34 61 66 Broad Elites Gen Pop The Importance of Race and Availability of The American Dream Race is an important factor Race is not an important factor • However over half of both audiences believe it has made it more difficult for them 52
  53. 53. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q173. Which of the following is closer to your view? Q174. How does your race impact your ability to achieve the American dream? African-Americans believe that race is an important factor in the availability of the American Dream and has affected them personally 31 22 11 24 49 48 32 68 20 30 57 8 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White The Impact of Race on Achieving the American Dream Probably helps me Probably has no impact for me Probably makes it more difficult for me 45 47 60 25 55 53 40 75 Asian Latino/His panic African- American White The Importance of Race and Availability of The American Dream Race is an important factor Race is not an important factor 53
  54. 54. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 PERCEPTIONS OF AMERICA TODAY 54
  55. 55. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q31. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Right track/Wrong track) Q32. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Best days still ahead, Best days behind us) Americans are worried about the direction of the nation today, but hopeful for tomorrow 43 36 57 64 Broad Elites Gen Pop America’s Current Course Currently on the right track Currently on the wrong track 64 55 36 45 Broad Elites Gen Pop America’s Best Days America’s best days are still ahead of it America’s best days are already behind it 55
  56. 56. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q31. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Right track/Wrong track) Q32. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Best days still ahead, Best days behind us) 57% of Americans who believe they are living the Dream believe America is on the wrong track 28 43 72 57 Not Living the Dream Living the Dream America’s Current Course Currently on the right track Currently on the wrong track 47 62 53 38 Not Living the Dream Living the Dream America’s Best Days America’s best days are still ahead of it America’s best days are already behind it 56 • 38% believe America’s best days are behind it
  57. 57. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q31. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Right track/Wrong track) Q32. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Best days still ahead, Best days behind us) 62% Americans who are satisfied with their lives believe America is on the wrong track 20 38 80 62 Dissatisfied With Life Satisfied With Life America’s Current Course Currently on the right track Currently on the wrong track 34 58 66 42 Dissatisfied With Life Satisfied With Life America’s Best Days America’s best days are still ahead of it America’s best days are already behind it • 42% believe America’s best days are behind it 57
  58. 58. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q31. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Right track/Wrong track) Q32. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Best days still ahead, Best days behind us) Older Americans are more likely to Believe America is on the Wrong Track 27 30 40 39 73 70 60 61 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger America’s Current Course Currently on the right track Currently on the wrong track 52 49 57 58 47 51 43 42 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger America’s Best Days America’s best days are still ahead of it America’s best days are already behind it 58
  59. 59. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q31. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Right track/Wrong track) Q32. Which of the following is closer to your view? (Best days still ahead, Best days behind us) White Americans are far more pessimistic than other major ethnic groups 60 48 63 27 40 52 37 73 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White America’s Current Course Currently on the right track Currently on the wrong track 73 63 80 48 25 37 20 52 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White America’s Best Days America’s best days are still ahead of it America’s best days are already behind it 59
  60. 60. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q207. Do you consider yourself wealthy, middle class or poor? Most Americans identify themselves as middle class 60 28 3 26 29 30 20 27 31 24 21 69 86 70 67 67 77 71 64 68 76 3 11 4 4 2 3 2 5 8 3 Gen Pop Broad Elites 30 or under 31-50 51-64 65+ White African American Latino/ Hispanic Asian Do you consider yourself wealthy, middle class or poor? Poor Middle class Wealthy
  61. 61. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q33. Which of the following statements is closest to your own view about the role and importance of the middle class in America? Most Americans believe the middle class remains central to health of American society 64 55 36 45 Broad Elites Gen Pop Role of the Middle Class The middle class remains central to the stability and health of American society The middle class has lost its historic role and importance in American society 61
  62. 62. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Younger and Non-White Americans believe more strongly that the middle class remains central to American society 59 68 60 51 39 32 40 49 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White Role of the Middle Class The middle class remains central to the stability and health of American society The middle class has lost its historic role and importance in American society 52 51 55 60 48 49 45 40 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger Role of the Middle Class The middle class remains central to the stability and health of American society The middle class has lost its historic role and importance in American society 62 Q33. Which of the following statements is closest to your own view about the role and importance of the middle class in America?
  63. 63. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q34. Which of the following are the most significant problems in America today? Please select your top 3. Problems in America Ranked by Gen Pop Gen Pop Broad Elites Healthcare costs 29 28 National debt 23 23 Too much government spending 22 25 Unemployment 20 18 Illegal immigration 20 17 Taxes are too high 18 20 Terrorism 18 20 Economic inequality 16 20 Too much government regulation 16 15 Political gridlock 14 20 Failing schools and education 14 16 Lack of good jobs 14 11 Social and cultural problems 11 11 Racial discrimination 10 10 Personal debt 10 9 Climate change 8 13 Healthcare costs top the list of problems in America today • Too much government spending and the National debt follow closely behind for all respondents • Broad Elites also rank Taxes are too high, Economic in quality, and Political gridlock as significant problems • Gen Pop sees Unemployment and Illegal immigration as significant Top Answers 63
  64. 64. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q34. Which of the following are the most significant problems in America today? Please select your top 3. Problems in America Ranked by 30 or Younger 30 or younger 31-50 51-64 65+ Unemployment 27 21 17 14 National debt 26 20 24 28 Healthcare costs 24 26 36 29 Taxes are too high 18 19 19 11 Too much government spending 18 18 24 31 Economic inequality 18 17 12 18 Personal debt 17 12 7 3 Failing schools and education 16 15 13 13 Lack of good jobs 15 18 12 8 Too much government regulation 15 13 18 23 Racial discrimination 15 10 9 6 Illegal immigration 12 19 23 28 Social and cultural problems 11 13 9 8 Access to quality education 11 4 3 4 Lack of opportunity to improve your life 10 7 4 2 Terrorism 9 16 24 24 Housing costs 8 12 7 3 Climate change 6 7 9 9 Political gridlock 5 12 17 29 Younger Americans focus on issues of Unemployment, while Older Americans are more concerned about Illegal Immigration Top Answers 64
  65. 65. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q34. Which of the following are the most significant problems in America today? Please select your top 3. Problems in America Ranked by White White African- American Latino/Hispanic Asian Healthcare costs 30 18 30 23 National debt 25 21 17 27 Too much government spending 25 11 16 14 Illegal immigration 23 10 13 16 Too much government regulation 21 3 8 13 Terrorism 19 18 14 16 Unemployment 18 31 24 25 Taxes are too high 17 21 16 23 Political gridlock 16 10 9 9 Economic inequality 15 16 26 9 Lack of good jobs 14 18 12 15 Failing schools and education 14 14 17 12 Personal debt 10 16 10 13 Social and cultural problems 10 15 9 16 Climate change 8 5 10 9 Racial discrimination 6 29 15 10 Housing costs 6 10 19 10 Access to quality education 4 5 9 12 African and Hispanic Americans are concerned about Social and Economic Inequality issues, while White Americans focus on the Government Top Answers 65
  66. 66. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q124. Which of the following could have the most impact in reducing the economic inequality? Please select only 3. Reducing Economic Inequality Ranked by Gen Pop Gen Pop Broad Elites Increase taxes on wealthy 34 31 Reduce national debt 26 27 Increase minimum wage nationwide 26 24 Cut taxes 23 26 Improve access to quality education in poor communities 20 26 Repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) 20 22 Emphasize work ethic and personal accountability 19 26 Reduce immigration 18 16 Expand access to free healthcare 17 16 Reduce government regulation 16 18 Increase taxes on corporations 15 17 Provide free job training 12 12 Increase funding of anti-poverty programs 9 10 Support growth of labor unions 6 7 Reduce foreign trade 6 5 Increase foreign trade 3 4 None of these 5 1 Focus on Inequality: little consensus on how to solve the problem • Broad Elites also think reducing the national debt, cutting taxes, improving access to quality education in poor communities and emphasizing work ethic and personal accountability will impact economic inequality. • For Gen Pop increasing the minimum wage nationwide and reducing the national debt are also important to reduce economic inequality. 66 Top Answers
  67. 67. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q124. Which of the following could have the most impact in reducing the economic inequality? Please select only 3. Reducing Economic Inequality Ranked by 30 or Younger 30 or younger 31-50 51-64 65+ Increase taxes on wealthy 35 33 32 37 Increase minimum wage nationwide 29 28 26 18 Expand access to free healthcare 26 16 14 9 Reduce national debt 24 21 27 37 Cut taxes 19 24 27 21 Improve access to quality education in poor communities 17 20 19 24 Increase taxes on corporations 16 14 14 15 Repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) 15 18 24 25 Reduce immigration 14 18 19 25 Provide free job training 14 13 12 9 Emphasize work ethic and personal accountability 13 18 23 25 Reduce government regulation 13 13 18 24 Support growth of labor unions 8 7 3 6 Increase funding of anti-poverty programs 7 10 10 5 Reduce foreign trade 7 7 4 6 Increase foreign trade 4 3 3 4 None of these 7 6 4 1 Across age groups, Americans believe Increasing taxes on wealthy will reduce economic inequality 67 Top Answers
  68. 68. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q124. Which of the following could have the most impact in reducing the economic inequality? Please select only 3. Reducing Economic Inequality Ranked by White White African- American Latino/ Hispanic Asian Increase taxes on wealthy 33 34 39 38 Reduce national debt 28 21 17 25 Increase minimum wage nationwide 25 35 28 17 Repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) 25 5 12 14 Cut taxes 24 21 19 23 Reduce immigration 21 11 13 11 Emphasize work ethic and personal accountability 20 18 14 19 Improve access to quality education in poor communities 18 26 18 31 Reduce government regulation 18 8 13 12 Expand access to free healthcare 15 16 26 15 Increase taxes on corporations 15 14 11 15 Provide free job training 10 22 15 10 Increase funding of anti-poverty programs 7 13 10 15 Reduce foreign trade 6 5 5 10 Support growth of labor unions 5 10 5 9 Increase foreign trade 3 3 5 4 None of these 4 6 10 6 White Americans are most likely to believe Reducing National Debt will help solve economic inequality 68 Top Answers
  69. 69. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q124. Which of the following could have the most impact in reducing the economic inequality? Please select only 3. Reducing Economic Inequality Democrat Independent Republican Increase taxes on wealthy 46 35 19 Increase minimum wage nationwide 36 26 12 Improve access to quality education in poor communities 24 20 15 Reduce national debt 20 26 35 Expand access to free healthcare 20 18 9 Increase taxes on corporations 19 17 7 Cut taxes 18 22 32 Provide free job training 16 14 7 Emphasize work ethic and personal accountability 13 21 23 Reduce immigration 12 19 26 Repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) 11 17 38 Increase funding of anti-poverty programs 11 8 4 Support growth of labor unions 7 7 4 Reduce government regulation 6 16 29 Reduce foreign trade 6 6 6 Increase foreign trade 3 2 4 None of these 4 5 5 Democrats and Independents prefer increasing taxes on the wealthy to reduce inequality, while Conservatives want to repeal Obamacare 69 Top Answers
  70. 70. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q123 Which of the following is closer to your view? Focus on Inequality: Concentration of wealth not a problem so long as they are able to provide for themselves and their family 58 64 42 36 Broad Elites Gen Pop Perceived Concentration of Wealth As long as I am able provide the life I want for myself and my family, it doesn’t matter if others are substantially wealthier than me The concentration of wealth and privilege within the top 1% of American society is a problem • Over half of Broad Elites and two-thirds of Gen Pop view this as long as they can provide the life they want for themselves and their families 70
  71. 71. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Younger and Hispanic Americans are more likely to believe that the concentration of wealth in the 1% is a problem 57 54 66 67 43 46 34 33 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White Perceived Concentration of Wealth As long as I am able provide the life I want for myself and my family, it doesn’t matter if others are substantially wealthier than me The concentration of wealth and privilege within the top 1% of American society is a problem 70 68 60 63 30 32 40 37 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger Perceived Concentration of Wealth As long as I am able provide the life I want for myself and my family, it doesn’t matter if others are substantially wealthier than me The concentration of wealth and privilege within the top 1% of American society is a problem 71 Q123 Which of the following is closer to your view?
  72. 72. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q125. If everyone had roughly the same opportunity to achieve their goals based on their own effort and merit, would it still be okay that some people in America do not achieve their goals? Focus on Inequality: As long as all have opportunity, Americans believe it is okay that some people fail to achieve their goals 84 76 16 24 Broad Elites Gen Pop If opportunity was all equal, would it be okay that some do not achieve their goals? Yes No • As long as everyone has roughly the same opportunity based on their effort and merit. 72
  73. 73. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Older and White Americans are most likely to believe that it is okay for some in America to not achieve their goals, as long as opportunity is equal 64 72 66 80 36 28 34 20 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White If opportunity was all equal, would it be okay that some do not achieve their goals? Yes No 85 80 74 71 15 20 26 29 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger If opportunity was all equal, would it be okay that some do not achieve their goals? Yes No 73 Q125. If everyone had roughly the same opportunity to achieve their goals based on their own effort and merit, would it still be okay that some people in America do not achieve their goals?
  74. 74. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q126. Which of the following is closer to your view? Focus on Inequality: Americans are unsure if technology is helping or hurting 62 51 38 49 Broad Elites Gen Pop Technology/Opportunities Technology creates opportunities for all Americans Technology creates opportunities for only some Americans 74
  75. 75. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Hispanic and Asian Americans are more likely to believe technology helps create opportunities for all Americans 58 61 51 49 42 39 49 51 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-American White Technology/Opportunities Technology creates opportunities for all Americans Technology creates opportunities for only some Americans 52 49 49 55 48 51 51 45 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or younger Technology/Opportunities Technology creates opportunities for all Americans Technology creates opportunities for only some Americans 75 Q126. Which of the following is closer to your view? • There is little difference in perceptions of technology’s aid in opportunities among age groups
  76. 76. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 PERSONAL PREFERENCES & PRIORITIES 76
  77. 77. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q23. Which of the following is closer to your ideal in terms of where to live? Most Americans consider suburban neighborhoods closest to their “ideal” in terms of where to live neighborhood 64 53 19 19 15 26 1 2 Broad Elites Gen Pop Ideal Place to Live In a family-oriented, suburban neighborhood In a vibrant urban neighborhood In a more rural area Something else 77
  78. 78. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Q23. Which of the following is closer to your ideal in terms of where to live? Millennials also prefer the suburbs and are only slightly more interested in urban living than other age cohorts 63 53 53 53 29 29 32 14 8 16 14 31 3 2 Asian Latino/Hispanic African-Americans White Ideal Placed to Live In a family-oriented, suburban neighborhood In a vibrant urban neighborhood In a more rural area Something else 50 53 54 52 15 15 19 24 31 29 25 23 4 3 1 1 65+ 51-64 31-50 30 or under Ideal Placed to Live In a family-oriented, suburban neighborhood In a vibrant urban neighborhood In a more rural area Something else 78
  79. 79. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Most respondents have a PC, car, flat-screen TV and smart phone Q17. Which of the following items do you or your immediate family have or own? Please select all that apply. 89 85 82 76 71 61 55 55 45 33 33 8 1 90 94 91 88 94 83 83 83 73 70 72 22 0 Personal Computer Car Flat-screen TV Healthcare coverage Smartphone A living wage House or Condominium Tablet Home office/ Den/ Family room 6 months of emergency savings A financial plan for retirement Vacation or second home None of the above Item Ownership Gen Pop Broad Elites • Broad Elites are more than twice as likely to have 6 months emergency savings and a retirement plan vs. Gen Pop 79
  80. 80. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Americans who do not believe they are living the American Dream have much less in terms of savings or retirement planning than those living the Dream Q17. Which of the following items do you or your immediate family have or own? Please select all that apply. 88 88 84 80 71 71 67 59 58 47 45 11 1 89 81 81 73 70 50 44 51 31 19 20 4 1 Personal Computer Car Flat-screen TV Healthcare coverage Smartphone A living wage House or Condominium Tablet Home office/ Den/ Family room 6 months of emergency savings A financial plan for retirement Vacation or second home None of the above Item Ownership Living the American Dream Not Living the American Dream 80
  81. 81. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Professional Goals Ranked by Gen Pop Gen Pop Broad Elites Having a good work/life balance 45 47 Pays a lot of money 37 39 Working near where you live or having an easy commute 30 21 Having flexibility in when and where you work 28 29 Working in a fun workplace environment 25 20 Reflects your personal passions 21 20 Making an impact 17 25 Working in a humane, nurturing workplace environment 13 11 Having opportunities for training and development 11 12 Being able to navigate your own career path 8 10 Being able to take on new professional challenges 8 16 Uses the most up-to-date technology 6 9 Being able to support social causes that are important to you 5 6 Encourages an entrepreneurial spirit 4 8 Traveling for work 4 10 Offers opportunities to work abroad 4 7 None of the above 9 2 Q30. Thinking a little more about your professional goals... Please pick the three things that would be the most important elements of your ideal job situation. Please select your top 3. Americans want healthy balance, good money, flexibility and fun in their jobs • Having flexibility in when and where you work and Making an impact are also important elements for Broad Elites • Proximity and flexibility to a job such as Working near where you live or having an easy commute and Having flexibility in when and where you work are also important for Gen Pop 81 Top Answers
  82. 82. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Professional Goals Ranked by Gen Pop 30 or Under 31-50 51-64 65+ Having a good work/life balance 45 49 45 37 Pays a lot of money 46 40 31 23 Working near where you live or having an easy commute 18 30 36 39 Having flexibility in when and where you work 27 31 30 21 Working in a fun workplace environment 30 22 28 21 Reflects your personal passions 28 20 19 15 Making an impact 20 16 16 17 Working in a humane, nurturing workplace environment 9 13 16 15 Having opportunities for training and development 11 13 9 11 Being able to navigate your own career path 9 8 7 8 Being able to take on new professional challenges 8 9 6 9 Uses the most up-to-date technology 7 7 5 4 Being able to support social causes that are important to you 6 5 5 6 Encourages an entrepreneurial spirit 6 4 4 2 Traveling for work 6 4 3 5 Offers opportunities to work abroad 3 5 3 3 None of the above 4 6 11 19 Q30. Thinking a little more about your professional goals... Please pick the three things that would be the most important elements of your ideal job situation. Please select your top 3. Younger Americans want jobs that pay a lot of money and has work/life balance, whereas older Americans want to have an easy commute 82 Top Answers
  83. 83. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 DEMOGRAPHICS 83
  84. 84. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Demographics - Employment Q6. Which of the following best describes your employment status? Please select all that apply. Employment Gen Pop Broad Elites Employed by someone else, working 30 hours or more per week 38 74 Employed part-time by someone else, working less than 30 hours per week 9 4 Self-employed 7 9 Homemaker 12 5 Student 7 1 Retired 18 7 Disabled, unable to work 6 1 Unemployed, looking for work 6 1 Unemployed, not looking for work 2 0 84
  85. 85. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Gender Gen Pop Broad Elites Male 49 60 Female 51 40 Region Gen Pop Broad Elites Northeast 18 24 Midwest 23 20 South 39 34 West 20 22 Age Gen Pop Broad Elites 18 to 24 11 0 25 to 34 19 21 35 to 44 20 28 45 to 54 19 26 55 to 64 16 25 65+ 15 0 Urban/Suburban/Rural Gen Pop Broad Elites Urban 27 21 Suburban 51 69 Rural 22 11 Don’t Know 1 0 Q2. Please select your gender. Q3. What is your age? Qregion. Q209. Do you consider the area in which you live to be…? Demographics – Gender, Age, Region, and Rural Area 85
  86. 86. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Income Gen Pop Broad Elites Less than $35,000 36 0 $35,000 - $49,999 15 0 $50,000 - $74,999 19 0 $75,000 - $99,999 12 20 $100,000 – $124,999 8 29 $125,000 – $149,999 5 22 $150,000 or more 5 29 Education Gen Pop Broad Elites Grade school or less 0 0 Some high school 2 0 High school graduate/GED 22 0 Some college or trade school 32 0 College graduate 32 60 Post-graduate work 12 40 QIncome. Which of the following income categories best describes your total 2014 household income before taxes? QEDU. What is the highest level of school you have completed or the highest degree you have received? Demographics – Income and Education 86
  87. 87. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Parental Status Gen Pop Broad Elites Yes 58 73 No 42 27 Children Living at Home (Ages) Gen Pop Broad Elites 0-3 15 15 4-7 18 23 8-10 19 24 11-13 17 23 14-16 15 28 17-18 9 15 19 or older 19 18 I have no children living at home with me 30 13 Q216. What is your marital status? QParent1. Do you have children? QParent 2. In which of the following age ranges do you have children living in your home? If you have children in more than one age range, please select all that apply. Demographics – Marital Status and Parental Status Marital Status Gen Pop Broad Elites Never married (Single) 29 13 Married 49 75 Separated 1 1 Divorced 10 4 Widowed 4 2 Domestic partnership/Cohabitating 76 5 Prefer not to answer 0 0 87
  88. 88. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Ethnicity Gen Pop Broad Elites White or Caucasian 68 71 Black, Caribbean, or African 12 8 Latin/Latin American/ Latino/ Hispanic 13 12 Asian (including South Asian, Indian, Pakistani and East Asian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Pacific Islander etc.) 4 7 Arab, Middle Eastern 1 1 Other 1 1 Parent/Grandparents Citizenship Gen Pop Broad Elites One or both of my parents immigrated to the United States 16 23 One or both of my grandparents immigrated to the United States 20 22 All of my parents and grandparents were born in the United States 63 54 Q217. Which of the following best describes your ethnic or racial background or heritage? Q218. Do you consider yourself to be of Hispanic or Latino descent? Q219. Were you born in the United States or somewhere else? Q220. Did either one of your parents or grandparents immigrate to the United States? Citizenship Gen Pop Broad Elites Born in the United States 93 90 Born in a country other than the United States 7 10 Demographics – Ethnicity, Individual and Familial Immigration Status 88
  89. 89. The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 The Atlantic/Aspen Institute The American Dream June 2015 Political Leaning Gen Pop Broad Elites Liberal 23 25 Moderate 47 50 Conservative 29 25 Q210. Do you consider yourself a… Q211. Regardless of political party, do you consider yourself…? Q212. Did you vote in the last presidential election? Voter Gen Pop Broad Elites Yes 75 94 No 21 5 I was not eligible to vote 4 2 Demographics – Political Affiliation/Leaning and Voting Behaviors Political Affiliation Gen Pop Broad Elites Democrat 31 30 Republican 25 31 Independent 35 34 Other 1 2 Don’t know 8 3 89

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