Why Are More Young People Giving Up On The American Dream?

Scott Greer Contributor
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A steady, fulfilling job. A beautiful family. A home of your own that’s, of course, rimmed with a white picket fence.

These are just a few of things associated with the American Dream — an idea that an unprecedented number of young white people think is dead.

A new study conducted by Fusion uncovered the startling revelation that 29 percent of Caucasians between the ages of 18 and 34 believe that the Dream “is not really alive.” That number rises to one out of three among non-college educated whites.

Then, out of those whites who still think the American Dream is alive, six out of 10 respondents said it is much harder to achieve. Once again, more non-college educated whites think it is harder to attain, with seven out of 10 respondents saying just that.

These dismal figures for whites have dramatically risen since a similar study was taken in 1986. (The number of non-whites no longer believing in the American Dream only rose slightly in that same time period.)

But the worst part of these sobering statistics is that they are not an outlier of contemporary sentiment.

Increasingly, studies are beginning to show a very troubling side to what was thought to be the core citizenry of the United States. The mortality rate for the parents of the working class millennials who’ve given up on the American Dream has (RELATED: No Country For Middle-Aged White Men)

There’s also the stark survey that found more than half of Americans feel like strangers in their own country and are troubled by its changing fabric.

When it comes to millennials, more and more young adults are becoming “unmoored” from our society’s respected institutions and place little trust in their fellow citizens. Additionally, this generation’s patriotism — you know that all important trait of showing pride in your country — lags significantly behind their elders.

America is clearly suffering a serious crisis of faith in itself. If no one buys into the American Dream of economic prosperity in return for hard work, what will happen to our world-famous work ethic? If social trust plummets and few have any faith in American institutions, what will bind our society together? If the majority of the population doesn’t even feel like they belong in the new America, how will we convince people to fight and die on behalf of this nation’s security?

On a morbid note, how do we stymie the skyrocketing death rate of middle-aged whites when their children’s economic prospects are grimmer?

There’s both economic and cultural factors for these depressing developments.

A plentiful number of stable, well-paying jobs for those with only a high school degree is starting to look like a thing of the past. Even finding a good job with a college degree has now become a tall task. America is still mired in a sluggish economy overall and the chances of it improving for a lot of people is slim.

The generation that reached working-age during the great recession are millennials, so it’s little wonder many of them have given up on the American Dream.

The culture of the U.S. has also dramatically changed over the years. Just take gay marriage, for example. Eleven years ago, George W. Bush won a second term in part to his promise to enact a constitutional amendment banning the unions. In 2015, gay marriage is legal in all 50 states and continuing to oppose it can cost you your job.

America’s demographic make-up is also in flux and we’ve now become a much more multicultural and diverse society.

But that comes with certain costs, as the prominent Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam discovered in his research on social trust. Putnam found that communities with a high amount of diversity lacked confidence in institutional leadership, registered low levels of civic engagement and were utterly bereft of social trust both between and within ethnic groups residing in the area.

Maybe this research explains why so many millennials lack trust in others and in society’s institutions. It also doesn’t bode well for America’s future prospects of maintaining the fundamental bonds that keep us together as a nation.

Just take a look at how our campuses are beset with radical racial activism that seeks to achieve power for a specific group at the expense of the general student body. That could be our whole country someday soon.

What these studies are showing is that the progressive utopia liberals think they’re creating is becoming a nightmare for millions of Americans. They think a multicultural society will be a happier, less conflicted one when the opposite is the case.

While these depressing studies seemingly get pumped out every week, many of our leaders are more concerned with the fact that all of America’s presidents have been males and we haven’t done enough to address white privilege. And that’s just the Democratic side.

Many Republican presidential candidates, as Ann Coulter has astutely pointed out, seem blinded by a sunny optimism that appears delusional when contrasted with the reality this country faces.

The findings show a citizenry that’s starting to give up on the American Dream, that feels ill at ease in their own land and distrusts their neighbors should be a wake-up call to our political leaders. America’s economy and radically transformed culture are leaving millions behind and it’s hurting our future prospects as a unified nation.

Good luck keeping America as a superpower when work is hard to find and nobody has anything in common with their fellow citizens.

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