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Study observes less optimism among young Americans

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Seven in 10 Americans believe the American Dream will be alive for their children and grandchildren, according to a new report, but young Americans are among the least optimistic about the future, according to new research.

Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, discloses these findings in a summary of results from the latest installment of the company’s 2013 Planning and Progress survey. The study was conducted online by independent research firm Harris Interactive, and included 1,546 Americans aged 25 or older.

Eight out of ten (79%) Americans polled believe the American Dream is alive; and three quarters (73%) are optimistic, saying they generally see the world as “glass half full” vs. 27 percent who see it as “glass half empty.” 

The study also finds that:

—Only 9% say the American Dream is as good as – if not better than – it was a generation ago;

–36% say the dream is alive, but people’s priorities and ambitions are different; and that the dream is defined more by happiness, health and balance in life;

–34% say the dream is alive, but opportunities are not as good as they were a generation ago; and

–21% say the dream no longer exists.

Among Americans 25 and older: 

–36% say it will be alive, but the opportunities won’t be as good;

–13% say it will be the same this generation to the next;

–22% say it will be alive, and the opportunities will be just as good – if not better – than they are now.

The most optimistic of the survey respondents (seeing the glass half full) Americans are those aged 67 and older (Matures), among which 79% are optimists.  The least optimistic Americans are those aged 25-32 (Gen Y), where one in three (33%) is a pessimist.

While those age 67 and older (Matures) are more optimistic they are also more likely to be skeptical about the American Dream. One-third of Matures believe the American Dream no longer exists (31%), and four in ten believe the American Dream will no longer exist for their children or grandchildren (37%).


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