The Blog

The End of the American Dream?

A blogger has another view.

1:56 PM, Aug 4, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Harris Poll (1997)—48% felt good about their children’s future
Harris Poll (1998)—65% felt good about their children’s future (17% N.A.)
Harris Poll (1999)—60% felt good about their children’s future (15% N.A.)
Harris Poll (2000)—63% felt good about their children’s future (17% N.A.)
Harris Poll (2001)—56% felt good about their children’s future
Harris Poll (2002)—59% felt good about their children’s future
Harris Poll (2003)—59% felt good about their children’s future
Harris Poll (2004)—63% felt good about their children’s future
 
Pew Research Center (1997)—51% said their children will be better off than them when they grow up
Pew Research Center (1999)—67% said their children will be better off than them when they grow up
 
Bendixen & Schroth (1989)—68% said their children will be better off than they are
Princeton Religion Research Center (1997)—62% of men said their sons will have a better chance of succeeding than they did; 85% of women said their daughters will have a better chance
Angus Reid Group (1998)—78% said children will be better off than them
Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard (2000)—46% said they were confident that life for their children will be better than it has been for them
Economic Mobility Project (2009)—43% said it would be easier for their children to move up the income ladder
Economic Mobility Project (2009)—45% said it would be easier for their children to attain the American Dream
Also, polls consistently show that Americans say they have higher living standards than their parents.

So, apparently the American Dream is not dead after all. (Andrew Ferguson makes a similar point in his article this week.)

I'm not going to pretend that inequality isn't an issue, or that policies couldn't be retooled to help middle-class families, or that the finance sector isn't too big, or that American industry hasn't exported itself to China, or that the welfare state isn't unsustainable in its present form. But kudos to Scott Winship for looking at the data and finding that things are not as dire as Ed Luce makes them out to be.

(A tip of the homburg to Tyler Cowen.)

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers