THE BLOG
06/07/2016 04:45 pm ET Updated Jun 07, 2017

Why We're Hardwired to Believe in the American Dream

Despite the deteriorating health of the American dream, many still feel just as strongly about it.

In a Pew Research Center survey, 64 percent of respondents said most people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard, while 33 percent said hard work is no guarantee of success.

The ability to move up in society through hard work, also known as pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, is the underlying essence of the American dream.

Lately, reality tells another story.

"The circumstances of one's birth have what seems to be a larger and larger role in determining one's economic well-being later in life," says USC Finance and Business Economics Professor Doug Joines.

A Brookings Institute analysis found that children born into the bottom 20 percent of the socioeconomic ladder are ten times more likely to stay there than reach the top 20 percent.

Meanwhile, the rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer. Wages for middle class workers have been stagnant for decades.

So why do so many still feel so strongly about the American dream? It may just be human nature. Find out how in the video above.