American Dream Survey

The Health and State of the American Dream

A project of the Archbridge Institute

The American Dream

The American Dream “is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
— James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America, 1931



of Americans believe freedom of choice on how to live is essential for the American Dream


of Americans believe having a good family life is essential for the American Dream


of Americans believe becoming wealthy is essential for the American Dream

3 in 4 Americans have achieved or are on their way to achieving the American Dream

Most Americans believe they have the same (32%) or more (48%) opportunities than their parents.

Most Americans say their children will have the same (27%) or more (33%) opportunities than they had.

American Dream Snapshot 2023

In the fourth edition of our study on attitudes about the American Dream and economic opportunity, we continue to see a strong belief in the promise of the American Dream. However, compared to last year, the number of Americans who believe the American Dream is out of reach is on the rise. This trend of increased pessimism showed up for all respondents regardless of age, income, education, and ethnicity.

What's your American Dream?

We asked Americans to describe their American Dream in one sentence.

Click on each state to see individual responses.


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United States of America

About the Survey

For this survey, we partnered with NORC at the University of Chicago and its AmeriSpeak® panel. AmeriSpeak® is a probability-based panel designed to represent the US household population. Randomly selected US households are sampled using area probability and address-based sampling, with a known, nonzero probability of selection from the NORC National Sample Frame. The nationally representative sample consisted of 2,187 respondents. The survey was conducted May 11-15, 2023.

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United States of America (copy)

Achieving your American Dream

We asked Americans who is most responsible for helping them achieve or pursue the American Dream. 

Click on each state to see individual responses.


The Four Myths of the American Dream

Published on: The Dispatch
Date: Oct. 28, 2023

The American Dream is becoming increasingly out of reach: poll

Published on: New York Post
Date: July 4, 2023

The American Dream is alive–but doubts loom this 4th of July

Published on: Fortune
Date: July 4, 2023

Inflation and crime have ‘soured’ the American dream

Published on: Washington Examiner
Date: June 30, 2023

Dreaming Our Way Toward Redemption

Published on: Discourse Magazine
Date: June 30, 2023

The American Dream as the Vision Statement for the United States

Published on: Profectus Magazine
Date: August 6, 2021

Living the Dream Minute

In these one-minute videos, Archbridge President Gonzalo Schwarz examines the state of the American Dream today. Each video explores new questions about the American Dream and suggests simple ways you can begin “living the dream.”

About Us

Our mission at the Archbridge Institute is to lift barriers to human flourishing. Through rigorous academic research, sound public policy solutions, and fostering a holistic vision of human flourishing, the Archbridge Institute works to empower individuals to achieve better, richer, and fuller lives by identifying and removing the barriers that constrain their potential and encouraging the aspirations and actions that cultivate their capabilities. This vision emboldens the American Dream and supports freedom and the pursuit of a meaningful life for all people, while building a movement that prizes character and personal agency, positive-sum thinking, entrepreneurship, innovation, and finding common ground. The Archbridge Institute is a non-partisan, independent, 501(c)(3) public policy think tank.