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CNBC: State of the American Dream is Uncertain

Ah, the enduring American Dream. The idea that anyone who works hard enough can climb the ladder and achieve success: a lovely home in the suburbs, luxury cars in the garage, the kids off to a good college and the retirement in a sunny locale.

The reality is more complicated.

Although the economy is slowly improving, experts say the deep recession and weak recovery may have exacerbated decades-long trends that were already making it tough for Americans to move up the ladder and, perhaps, achieve the American Dream.


Americans also are known for their resilience, and Pew Charitable Trusts' data have shown that about two-thirds believe they have achieved or will achieve the American Dream. But a separate Gallup poll from last year found that only about half of Americans are satisfied with the opportunity for a poor person to get ahead by working hard.


The reality is that, even in good times, it is difficult and rare for Americans born very poor to become wealthy.

"In the United States, people who are coming from low-income families are highly likely to be low-income themselves," said Erin Currier, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts' Economic Mobility Project. "That sort of rags-to-riches story … is very unlikely."

Read the full article at

Economic Mobility Project

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