Photo: Robert Clark
For generations, owning a home was a hallmark of living the American Dream, but times are changing.
Today more Americans feel that owning a home is no longer necessary to achieve the American Dream, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the nonpartisan think tank Pew Research Center.
The opportunity of all Americans to pursue success and prosperity through hard work is the traditionally accepted definition of the American Dream. In August, Pew asked people about the “American Dream,” as they define it.
Some 48 percent of Americans feel that owning a home is “important but not essential” to the American Dream, compared to 42 percent who said it was “essential.” Only 9 percent of respondents said it “wasn’t important” at all.
The homeownership rate in the US hit a low of 62.9 percent in the second quarter of 2016, the lowest on record since 1965 — when the Census Bureau began tracking the data. But as of the third quarter of this year, it had risen to 63.9 percent.
The uptick in the homeownership rate is largely attributed to aging Millennials finally entering the housing market. And while debt has mostly sidelined the generational group from buying a home, the changing view of the American Dream could also be a factor, even if it’s not the primary driver.
Overall, the American Dream, while elusive, is still within reach for most Americans, say respondents. The share that felt the American Dream was out of reach was only 17 percent, compared to 36 percent who felt they had achieved it and 46 percent who were on their way to achieving the American Dream.
“People who say they have already achieved the American dream are generally older, more affluent and better-educated than those who say they are on their way to achieving the American dream and those who say it’s out of reach,” says Pew in the report.
Also, Caucasians (41 percent) were more likely to claim that they have achieved the American Dream than Hispanics (32 percent) or African-Americans (17 percent).
But, there are no significant racial or ethnic differences in the percentage of respondents who say that the American dream is out of reach for them.
Click here to read the entire report.