American Dream 2021 Snapshot: How Americans view the American Dream and Economic Mobility

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THE SURVEY RESULTS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING SEVEN KEY FINDINGS:
1) Most Americans, regardless of race, income, or education, believe that they have either achieved the American Dream or are on their way to achieving it.

2) Most Americans regard living better and fuller lives—rather than simply becoming richer—as essential in achieving the American Dream.

3) Most Americans, and especially blacks, believe they have more opportunities than their parents. And most Americans think their children will have the same or more opportunities than they did and not fewer.

4) For most Americans, ensuring a fair chance to succeed and reducing poverty is more important than reducing income inequality.

5) For an overwhelming number of Americans, 66%, equality means equality before the law and people having a fair chance to pursue opportunities, regardless of where they started. Only 4% of people said that equality represented equality of outcomes, where everyone ends up in the same place. This finding remains true across age, education, race, and income level.

6) For most Americans a job is the best vehicle to climb the income ladder. Five in ten Americans identified that as the most important step up the income ladder, more than a college degree (16%), a high degree of family and social support (15%), or a government assistance program (8%).

7) For a plurality of Americans the most important precondition to ensure more people can climb the income ladder is strong labor market and high level of economic growth (34%). Access to education came in a close second (24%), and very few people agreed that a low level of income inequality or a strong government social safety net are the most important pre-conditions, coming in at 6% and 5% respectively.

2021-American-Dream-Snapshot

Gonzalo Schwarz, President and CEO of the Archbridge Institute, has written numerous articles and op-eds in that capacity, on topics ranging from the importance of entrepreneurship and the health of the American Dream to trends in economic mobility and inequality.