Only about one in four people still believes that success can be attained in their country through hard work
Only around one-fourth US adults believe that the “American dream” of being able to succeed through hard work still holds true, down by nearly half from when the same question was asked in 2010, a new poll has revealed.
The ABC News/Ipsos survey, released on Monday, found that just 27% of Americans still believe in the American dream, defined as “if you work hard, you’ll get ahead.” That compares with 50% when the same poll was conducted 13 years ago, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
While 52% of US adults believe the American dream “once held true but does not anymore,” up from 43% in 2010, those who say it “never held true” more than quadrupled, to 18% from 4%. That dim view was most prevalent among blacks, 32% of whom believe the American dream was never true, up from 11% in the previous poll. Just 21% of black people still believe in the opportunity to prosper through a strong work ethic.
The bleak results come at a time when Americans are growing increasingly pessimistic about the outlook for their country. A poll released in November showed that 76% of US adults believe the nation is heading in the “wrong direction.” Respondents cited the economy and inflation as their top concerns.
The discouraged populace may bode poorly for US President Joe Biden as he seeks reelection later this year. Just 33% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance, according to another poll conducted earlier this month, the lowest rating for any US president since at least 2008.
Waning confidence in the American dream is especially prevalent among young adults. Just 21% of US adults under age 30 believe the dream still holds true, down from 56% in 2010, the latest survey showed. By contrast, 41% of Americans 65 and older still believe in the American dream, down from 53% previously.
Only 18% of US adults with household incomes below $50,000 a year still believe they can become prosperous by working hard. But even among those making more than $100,000 a year, just one in three respondents still believes in the American dream.