Polling News

Voters See American Dream Slipping Out of Reach

November 30, 2023

The American Dream feels to be slipping away for many families, according to a new survey from Wall Street Journal/NORC. There was a time when many Americans viewed this as the land of opportunity, but today only 36% of voters said the “American Dream still holds true.”

Why It Matters: As reports of inflation, high housing prices, international turmoil, and political division fill the daily headlines, it’s not surprising Americans are negative about the what’s ahead. It’s discouraging that younger Americans are one of the most pessimistic groups when it comes to their view of future opportunities.  

By The Numbers:

  • Today, only 36% of Americans believe the American Dream still holds true, down from 53% in 2012.  
  • When the Wall Street Journal asked whether Americans who work hard were likely to get ahead, 68% said yes–almost twice as many who say the American Dream no longer holds true today.
  • Younger Americans are the most despondent about their future. Only 28% of Americans under 50 years old said the American Dream still holds true, compared to 48% of those 65 years old and older. 

The Bottom Line: America has long been a “shining city on the hill” for the world, a place where one could achieve his or her dream thru hard work. That dream seems to be further and further out of reach for many Americans who want to buy a house, go to college or start a family. This spells trouble for President Joe Biden as he looks to his re-election.  


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