Millennials Increasingly Believe The American Dream "Is Not Really Alive"

Tyler Durden's picture

If you’re a millennial, you’d be forgiven for being disillusioned with the American dream. 

After all, there’s a good chance you just found out that the college degree you paid $35,000 (or more) for isn’t worth much in today’s labor market. Even if you’re lucky enough to find a full-time job that doesn’t involve serving Jager shots at three in the morning, your wages aren’t likely to keep up with the soaring cost of living let alone be sufficient to service your mountainous student debt. 

Meanwhile, you might have also discovered that the “economic recovery” your econ teachers told you about really never took place and that Ben Bernanke’s “courage” really didn’t do much of anything to improve the lot of the Middle Class, which you probably thought you were set to join within a month of graduation.

In fact, statistics show there’s about a one in three chance that you’re back living in your parents’ basement, which means you get the privilege of eating dinner with the family every night and listening to your dad tell you how disgusted he is with the fact that he can’t get a promotion but his boss just bought a new Maserati thanks to a Fed-assisted tripling of the company’s stock price.

No sir, we don’t blame you for being disgusted nor were we surprised to discover that compared to young Americans in 1986, you’re three times as likely to think the American dream is dead and buried.  

As WaPo notes, "young workers today are significantly more pessimistic about the possibility of success in America than their counterparts were in 1986, according to a new Fusion 2016 Issues poll - a shift that appears to reflect lingering damage from the Great Recession and more than a decade of wage stagnation for typical workers.”

More color on the methodology: 

The Fusion poll replicated the questions from a Roper/Wall Street Journal poll of young Americans that was conducted in 1986, the year Mister Mister topped the pop charts and Bill Buckner's error cost the Boston Red Sox a World Series title. Both polls posed a series of questions about the American Dream: what it meant to individuals, whether it actually existed and, if it did, how hard it was to attain.


In the three decades between the surveys, pollsters found, share of young Americans overall who said the American Dream "is not really alive" grew sharply from 12 to 29 percent. Among white people, it nearly tripled from 10 percent to 29 percent. One in three white non-college graduates now say it is not alive, compared to one-fifth of white college graduates; the increase from 1986 was larger for non-graduates than for graduates.

Of course maybe if you just wait long enough, the Bernanke QE "wealth effect" will eventually trickle down. Or better still, maybe lackluster revenue growth will miraculously pick up for American corporates, ending the necessity of using financial engineering to squeeze EPS beats out of topline misses thus sparking a frenzied hiring spree. 

But above all, don't rest on your laurels. You, like Ben, should have "the courage to act."

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Haus-Targaryen's picture

American dream is definitely alive & well -- just no longer in the United States sad to say.  :( 


toady's picture

White people got

No reason to live.

OrangeJews's picture
OrangeJews (not verified) toady Dec 1, 2015 5:46 PM

The last one will get a medal and some sort of tv time.

wee-weed up's picture

Hmmm... Might the Millennials be suffering from a case of (twice) voter's remorse?

boattrash's picture

Brilliant, those Millenials are just brilliant! They catch on quickly!

coinhead's picture
coinhead (not verified) boattrash Dec 1, 2015 7:14 PM

Millenials are America's greatest generation.

Shadow1275's picture

The sarcasm is strong with this one. 


My generation is awful that's for sure, but let's not forget the baby boomers who began the transition into the lovely Socialist Democratic paradise that we see today.

coinhead's picture
coinhead (not verified) Shadow1275 Dec 1, 2015 8:13 PM

I dunno man... storming teh beaches of Iwo Jima or dodging microaggressions?

besnook's picture

the baby boomers lost 58000 young men to the viet cong, eventually stopped the war, brought down 2 presidents and have generally been a pain in the ass except for the silent majority which gave you wacko christians, neocons and piss on the middle class economics. it was technically the ww2 generation that started the welfare programs you allude to.


the question is, what have genx and the useless millenial generation accomplished?

boattrash's picture

coinhead, here's a brief couple of comments from another thread, Re;Oil tankers hauling ISIS crude oil...


Or maybe just U.S. seize them, you know, as "spoils of war" since we're at war with terror.

Oh wait, nevermind, U.S. only seizes shit from it's own citizens. Maybe that's who the war is really against...


Vote up!

Vote down!


In this climate of ubiquitous armchair generals, I'm astonished that someone came up with a common sense answer.  

Are you some kind of freak?  You certainly are atypical.


Vote up!

Vote down!


Freak? Yes, but luckily the numbers of us grow each day. Being born in the mid 60s, I usually refer to our generation as "Cold War Kids", you know, we had the drills at school, where we were supposed to get under the desks, hide from the flash, and kiss our asses goodbye.

Many of us never expected to see the age of 30 (and we damn sure lived that way). We were taught that we'd be soldiers fighting the USSR. FFS

Oddly enough, a series of dreams (three) that I had in the mid 80s, introduced me to the "False Flag" before I ever even heard or read the word. I've been buying ammo since the day of the 2nd dream.

I regret not having written them down immediately, as they would have made one helluva mini-series, but, they are still trapped in the grey matter.

Good day to ya,


Maybe this helps clear up my brief comment on Millenials.


The American Dream is not dead, it is just resting, after a long squawk.

robobbob's picture

critical thinking is now actively discouraged in most education institutions.

no way they will make any connections not provided by the msm propaganda machine.

probably blame climate change, unequal gender pay, lack of transgender rights, etc

voting for anti capitalist, pro-cronist, central government power concentration and entitlements funded by sky rocketing debt? not a chance.

besnook's picture

white people are fucking useless. listen to what this college president thinks of them. he thinks they are all pussies.

nuubee's picture

We had to pay the drug dealers somehow.

Noplebian's picture
Noplebian (not verified) Haus-Targaryen Dec 1, 2015 6:09 PM
Lindsey Williams Latest – Please I Beg You, Watch This Video Message From My Elite Friend Regarding The Amercan Dream......


Elliott Eldrich's picture

I remember when NAFTA was being debated; the phone calls, faxes, and letters were 9 to 1 against it, so of course it passed. The next year, when GATT was being debated, those same calls, faxes, and letters were 99 to 1 against it, so of course it passed. Anyone who thinks this is a democracy is sadly mistaken, this is an oligarchy and has been for a long time now.

inhibi's picture

Yeah funny how letters and calls dont do anything....


But on Daily KOS they will tell you that the root of all evil is the 2nd amendment.


Fucking hippies.

r00t61's picture

And then when TARP was being debated, it was like 999 to 1 against.

Yet it passed anyway.

But please, someone tell me that we can just vote the bums out.

besnook's picture

that is why it is called a republic. you elect people who vote for what is best for you. it is your fault for electing these people.

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

100,000 silver spoon cocksuckers would beg to differ. The future has never looked better for this breed of useless turd.

abyssinian's picture

The American Dream is on Facebook! And they all are dreaming daily

Duc888's picture

They ain't seen nuthin' yet.

moonmac's picture

Most young Americans are just future Debt Slave Sheeple awaiting their miserable lives of peonage to the Fed and their corrupt Wall Street cronies. They’ve been brainwashed to believe the government will solve all their problems but little do they know the bailout plan is just a loaded gun with a suicide solution.

Doom and Dust's picture

Only 71% still asleep.

TheFutureIsThePast's picture

On the contrary, the Dream is alive and well. You just aren't part of the club.

indaknow's picture

It's sorta like the Santa Clause and Easter Bunny moment

Make_Mine_A_Double's picture

Or Unicorns and 'safe spaces' - FFS kids it's a figure of speech. Get outta of the god damn basement and get a fucking job.

This generation is utterly worthless with a few notable exceptions.

conspicio's picture

Nationally, 60 percent of voters 18-29 years old voted for President Obama over Romney (exit polled data unsourced). (not that voting matters as such, but it best expresses the broader emotional attachment to The Lightbringer).

Look, look upon this barren desert for it contains all the fucks I give about how Millenials "feel" about the American dream. They did their best to destroy it by "carpe diem" - ing their way through life. YOLO!

I am Jobe's picture

Wow does this mean these idiots will be coddled more by parents? Pussification of America is complete

Batman11's picture

Social mobility in the US is as bad as the class ridden UK, which in turn is the second worst in Europe.

Rich parents who can afford private schools and universities are the secret of success.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Dec 1, 2015 5:56 PM

Millenials: The New Boomers.  But broke ass mofos this time around.

Are they ever going to give up trying to control and shape the 18-34 crowd into their fanciful "Millenials"?

Better to be yourself, and not part of some collectivist slaver's wet dream.  Maybe that will be the outcome of all the social engineering of that group of individuals.

Maybe the State and Collectivism in general is due for a grand downfall in the eyes of the world.  What would cement it, and move us forward past slavery, is for the global oligarch wannabes to get their war.

tritumi's picture

In 1986, at 35 years old and newly married, I moved back to the US after seven years working abroad. I was able to buy a house and start the new job for which I had been relocated. After three years and 50% of my time on the road it was clear that advancement was impossible because of relations with NY management. Took a new job overseas again and have been ex-pat since. The American Dream often requires that, like Huck Finn, you light out for the territories. And for the same reason Huck had.

But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.

Yeah, Aunt Sally.

GhostOfDiogenes's picture
GhostOfDiogenes (not verified) tritumi Dec 1, 2015 6:04 PM

Um if you served in the military and ran away what does that make you?

A traitor or a coward?

I will go with both, chuck.

MountainMan02's picture

What kind of work is there overseas besides teaching english to children? Legit question.

boattrash's picture

Oilfield whore.

Oops, Arnold already gave that one...

buzzkillb's picture

Plenty of engineering jobs. In the Middle East you may even get your own bodyguard. Back in '02 I remember reading trade magazines touting bomb proof container offices. The pay was insane, but the engineers were also first to get their heads chopped off. Saw some recent postings that are close to triple the US pay, and free housing, free schooling, etc. Believe it or not there are still lots of job postings in bad economic areas like Australia.

besnook's picture

there is a lot of opportunity. the english teaching job is the easiiest gateway for the average bloke but most international companies are looking for people willing to work overseas because americans still have foreign country phobia so positions are more difficult to fill.

FrankieGoesToHollywood's picture

Well that's why its called a dream.  Its not real.

GhostOfDiogenes's picture
GhostOfDiogenes (not verified) Dec 1, 2015 6:14 PM

Look at these hateful comments!

Okay, it is time to start using these millenial dupes, I mean sheeple in my own private army.

After gathering gps coordinates by way of IP addressed snifing, I will use my army to confiscate all sunk ships of PM's you jerks have bragged about and tried to keep hidden so many years now.

It will be glorious.

"No prisoners!" Will be our motto.

Till no boomer sucks wind ever again. Amen.

izzee's picture

and you wonder why the Administrations of those "EEEEleeet" schools are more than happy to have their estudentes totally concerned and almost militant about "micro-aggresssion" and "cultural appropriations"


God forbid they actually get concerned about their own actual --- as it relates to the Real World --- dire situation.


Hey that's a great Idea for a Reality TeeeVeee show.  Real Students of the Ivy League.   Spin-Off Number 1 - Real Students of the Big Ten......


Steal this Idea and my Lawyers will be on your ESS.  tout suite

Niall Of The Nine Hostages's picture


If douchebag boss bought a Maserati, trust me, he's paying for his midlife crisis with borrowed money. It'll get repo'd too, not long after boss is shitcanned along with his minions when all their jobs get sent to China.

Outsourcing isn't just for the shop floor any more. That's why MSM hacks are finally starting to notice the problem. They're next, or at least near the front of the line.

The only people who can actually afford Maseratis and actually buy Maseratis are Arab oil sheikhs who don't know any better. Today rich men with >100 IQs prefer Teslas. 


buzzkillb's picture

I had this conversation with a client about his Lambo. He said buying a used one isn't much more expensive than a typical expensive car. A used one is similar in price to a new M3 with some options. He was trying to convince me to buy a lambo for my next car since I haven't driven anything practical.

To lease a Maserati is around $800/month. I could have afforded that and a small apartment on unemployment and lived quite well for however long the king was going to keep UE going. It wouldn't take much work to make this as side money buying and selling junk on ebay each month.

I told my millenial nephew how I was making side money and he never did it, though he needed money. Unbeliveable. Too many numskulls think you need to do a 9-5 to make a living. That lambo owner above is invested in so many different things, none resembling a normal job. He also has a friend who one day decided to start a mint and does quite well.

tritumi's picture

Well, GhostOfDiogenes, if your remark is aimed at my tale, your aim is nowhere near true. "If", you write, using the military as your logic lever, but of course a private citizen acting on their own initiative and agency is not part of that coercive collective.

Personal responsibility and risk taking is part of growth. One will not get out of the parents' basement if one fails to think outside of the box in the first place.

Westcoastliberal's picture

Once more with feeling:  FUCK YOU BERNANKE!

margincall575's picture
margincall575 (not verified) Dec 1, 2015 6:27 PM

as ive stated before.. I live in a major metropolitan area were nobody walks. High Rise near a Large university. Lots of Millenials. Moved there in 2005 and witnessed the metamorphisis. I will never ever shed one tear for these clueless excuse for human beings. THE only thing that is important to them is their I-SHIT. They dont even know what end of the planet the sun  comes up. They deserve the buttfuckin they are getting and will get. Get on an elevator with 6 of them. In an instant 6 faces. Buried. They are addicts  I must attest though there are huge advantages i cant deny.. Referencing back to the sugardaddie aticle all  ( all i can say is broke in debt women are fun women . They find you you dont need to find them. So i cant deny part of me doesnt mind and i find them quite resourceful creatures. Really skip the dinner,. and .. they know they have a resource , so if they are getting fucked by the criminal elite why not fight fire with fire? Gonna doink a guy for money one way or another ... But serious . I really can do without every night walking into a scene from the night of the living dead

GhostOfDiogenes's picture
GhostOfDiogenes (not verified) margincall575 Dec 1, 2015 6:42 PM

I love watching you boomer sick idiots post nasty shit about milenials, like you are any better.

The lack of self reflection in boomers is maddeningly psychopathic.