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No Wonder 59 Percent Say American Dream Is Out of Reach

June 10, 2014

According to a recent CNNMoney poll, a majority of Americans believe the American Dream is impossible to achieve.  Even more alarming, 63 percent of Americans 18-34 years old think the American Dream is completely out of reach, with most believing they belong to a generation that will not be better off than their parents.

After last week’s jobs report, it’s not surprising Americans are disillusioned.  As the chart below depicts, compared with pre-recession levels, the number of Americans under 55 who are currently employed has dropped by over 6 million.  With mounting bills and student loan debt, we need policies that grow the economy and create jobs so the next generation of Americans can realize the American Dream.    

 Age  Employed    Employment to Population Ratio
 May 2007  May 2014   Change    May 2007      May 2014  Change
 16-24  19,457,000    18,329,000  -1,128,000  52.1%   47.3%  -9.2%
 25-54 100,725,000  95,510,000 -5,215,000  80.2% 76.8% -4.2%
 55 and over 25,682,000   32,559,000  +6,877,000  37.5% 38.6%  +2.9%

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.  All data not seasonally adjusted; May 2007 was the last May before the start of the 2007-09 recession.