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As you probably heard in your third-grade history class, anyone in this country can prosper with a little hard work and determination—this is the American dream, after all. (Our country’s historical treatment of women, slaves, indigenous people, etc., would prove otherwise, however.)
Well, a new Pew Research study reveals that the majority of people who think they have achieved the American dream are (surprise!) white and Republican.
The study showed that while 41 percent of white people say they have already achieved the American dream, only 17 percent of Black people and 32 percent of Hispanics believe they have achieved this standard of success. The majority of those dream-reachers are also college graduates and identify as Republican, or have Republican-leaning values.
Despite the low percentage of minorities who don’t believe they have yet “made it,” 62 percent of Black people and 51 percent of Hispanics said they are on their way to achieving the dream. A smaller percentage of people believed that the American dream is completely out of the reach for them—17 percent of those surveyed.
However, the American dream means different things for different people. When asked what accomplishments in life were essential to achieving the American dream, becoming wealthy was the lowest-ranked factor, but was still somewhat important. Americans, of all ethnicities and races, said the following factors were important to their view of the American dream: freedom of choice in how to live, having a good family life, retiring comfortably, making valuable contributions to the community, owning a home, and having a successful career.
Click here to view the entire study on the Pew Research Center’s website.
Brianna Stone is a reporter and digital producer. Her work has been published by the Austin American-Statesman, the Daily Dot, and USA Today.