Despite the economic hardship that the Great Recession has caused millions of Americans, belief in the American Dream is still alive and well, even for those who suffered the most.
The majority of unemployed Americans still believe that they have achieved or will achieve the American Dream, a recent poll from Pew Charitable Trust's Economic Mobility Project finds. Forty-one percent of jobless Americans say the American Dream is in their future, while 15 percent say they've already achieved it. Perhaps not surprisingly, Americans with jobs have an even stronger belief that the dream will become reality.
Still, respondents to the poll weren't without their fair share of doubt. Ninety percent of the unemployed categorized their situation as poor to fair, while over half say they aren't confident in their ability to earn enough money to support the lives they want.
But it doesn't take being unemployed to be doubtful about the future. Even investors say the American Dream is now harder to achieve than it was in the past. Nearly 85 percent of investors with a net worth of $100,000 or more say that achieving the American Dream will be harder in the years to come, according to a poll by consulting firm Spectrem Group.
Still, the nature of the American Dream may have changed drastically since the collapse of the housing market. At one time, homeownership seemed to embody the American dream itself, but for many it's now increasingly out of reach. In the last quarter of 2011, the homeownership rate dropped to 66 percent, its lowest level in more than a decade, according to 24/7 Wall St.
See below to for the perceived status of the American dream today: