Annual State of the American Dream Survey

The Center conducts an annual State of the American Dream SurveyTM to gauge what the American Dream is and to whom, to measure America's confidence in itself and its future, and to understand the aspirations and values likely to directly current and future economic, political, and cultural decisions.

 

Highlights from our most recent survey include:

  • The American Dream remains remarkably resilient despite a continued wave of bad news, enormous economic challenges, international uncertainty, and institutional distrust.
  • While confidence in the economy and optimism about America's place in the world have significantly declined, respondents are nonetheless still confident in their own personal ability to achieve their American Dreams.
  • Currently, the four most prominent definitions of the American Dream are "a good life for my family," "financial security,” "opportunity," and "freedom."
  • A large majority of Americans believes that immigration is important to keeping the American Dream alive.
  • To a significant degree, the American people have lost faith and trust in our nation’s leading public and private institutions--heretofore charged with safeguarding the American Dream--including politics, business, government, and the media.
  • The American people strongly believe that the United States is in rapid decline as it loses economic power and influence to rising nations such as China. A majority of Americans now believes that the "world looks to many different countries" as the standard for success, while a minority believes America "represents the future."