Are Whites Losing Faith in the American Dream?

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from MSNBC,

A majority of Americans say that the American Dream is harder than ever to attain – but that they themselves have attained it, or expect to in the future.

That’s the headline finding of a poll on the nation’s perceptions of itself, released Wednesday by The Atlantic and The Aspen Institute. Nearly 70% of Americans told the pollsters that the obstacles to achieving the Dream are “more severe today than ever,” even as 50% said that they had already achieved it, and another 22% said they expected to do so within their lifetime.

The dissonance between how Americans view their nation’s prospects and how they view their own is even more stark when other gauges of satisfaction are taken into account. Eighty-five percent of the poll’s respondents say they are satisfied with their lives; 72% are happy at their jobs; 86% are optimistic about the future.

While those findings may seem to contradict each other, they don’t contradict conventional wisdom about the individualistic optimism of the American people, whose poorest view themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires,” in John Steinbeck’s famous phrasing.

But beneath the topline figures, the poll offers some major surprises. Here are three findings that challenge popular narratives about how Americans see themselves and their country:

1. African-Americans have far more faith in the American Dream than Whites

2. Millennials are materialists who want to move to the suburbs and have kids

3. Independents see their country more like Democrats than like Republicans

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