Gen Z/Millennials don’t relate to the traditional notions of the American Dream as much: Just half of Gen Z/Millennials (54%) say living in freedom is a top factor of the American Dream vs (83%) of Seniors 65+, and less than half (43%) of Gen Z/Millennials say owning a home vs (61%) of Seniors 65+. And despite the enormous economic dislocation of younger people in the pandemic, (50%) of Gen Z/Millennials say being financially secure is a top factor vs (77%) of Seniors 65+.
New Values and a New Reality: Perhaps the difference between our nation’s youth and elders comes from a mix of reality in attaining The American Dream, matched with rising new values for our nation’s youth: Nearly half (46%) of Gen Z/Millennials say the American Dream is not attainable and nearly a third of Gen Z/Millennials (28%) say the pandemic has made them rethink empathy and community as part of the American Dream.
The pandemic has created new obstacles to the dream, especially for our kids: Nearly 4 in 10 (37%) parents say the pandemic has made access to education more complicated, and (34%) of parents say it has made it challenging for kids to get ahead. (62%) of parents today say the pandemic will have a lasting impact on today’s young children.
Pandemic Parents: Amid unprecedented school closures, something parents in 2009 were not faced with, today’s parents in crisis have new concerns, 44% fear their kids are missing out on learning due to stay-home orders. This is at a time when getting ahead means, even more, today 50% of parents say children doing better than parents is a top factor of the American dream vs 23% of parents who said this in 2009.
Top factors of the American Dream today:
- Living in freedom (69%) – 54% Gen Z/Millennials vs 83% Seniors 65+
- Being financially secure (65%)
- Having a good job (56%)
- Owning a home (55%)
- Democracy (52%)
- Getting a decent education (50%)
- Children do better than parents (43%)
How attainable is the American Dream of homeownership today?
- (66%) somewhat/very attainable
- (34%) not at all/not very attainable
Which of the following statements do you agree with about how the pandemic has changed the American Dream?
- Made living in freedom a thing of the past (25%)
- Made democracy look bad (21%)
- Reinforced shared national values (19%)
- Revitalized our national sense of patriotism (19%)
- Made the American Dream a thing of the past (19%)
- Made homeownership a thing of the past (13%)
- Pandemic has not changed the American Dream (18%)