In America, the streets are paved with gold and hard work can take anyone from rags to riches in a single generation — or at least that’s the American Dream.
Today’s teenagers, however, are starting to realize the American Dream might be dead.
At least that’s the conclusion of a study published recently in the Journal of Poverty.
The study’s authors, Carol Hostetter, Sabrina Williamson Sullenberger, and Leila Wood, asked teenagers a series of questions about their future in 1996 and again in 2011. The responses were telling.
In 1996, the teens felt confident about their future and believed in the American Dream.
There’s been extraordinary examples of people that have been poor and stuff that have risen to the top just from their personal hard work … not everybody can do that, I realize, but I think a lot of people could if they just tried.”
In 2011, however, teenagers with a different world view began to question the American Dream.
“You can always work hard, but if you aren’t given the opportunity or you don’t have the funds to be able to continue working hard then you never get the chance to get out of where you are.”
That opinion reflects a changing reality faced by high school and college graduates after 2006. The Great Recession and a challenging job market has left many graduates feeling left out and forgotten.
The American Dream was no longer a reality, at least not for them.
A similar study showed dismal employment rates for high school and college graduates after 2006. Only 3 out of 10 high school graduates were employed full time.
If the American Dream fairy tale ever existed, it’s dead now.
College, once the favored destination of high school graduates, has become a limited option. Today’s teenagers have to balance going to college with a lifetime of debt, and many simply don’t see the benefit. That is, unless they come from a rich family.
Maybe that’s what is behind the changing idea that money can indeed buy happiness, or at least put a down payment on it.
Billionaire Warren Buffet agrees. He recently called poverty the “American Nightmare” and called on presidential contenders to make an issue of it during the 2016 race, according to the Inquisitr.
In a country where Wall Street gets billion dollar bailouts, how can the nation’s future be left behind?
How do you feel about the American Dream?
[Photo by Michael Loccisano / Getty Images]