Fewer Confident of Reaching American Dream

Survey finds America on decline, China on the rise.

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Less than one-third of Americans are confident of reaching the "American Dream," and huge majorities say it will only get harder for their children and grandchildren, according to a comprehensive new survey on the American Dream. Worse, according to the second annual American Dream Survey from the Xavier University Center for the Study of the American Dream, only 23 percent of Americans see the nation on the rise with a majority—52 percent—saying China now represents the future.

"In essence, Americans seem to be confirming the view in some quarters that if the last century was the American Century," says Center founder Michael Ford. "The current era is fast becoming the Chinese Century."

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The survey is a depressing review of how people view their situation and the nation in general. Among the findings:

-- Only 23 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction with 67 percent saying "things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track."

-- Just 27 percent say they are "extremely confident" of reaching the American Dream, down from 40 percent a year ago.

-- 78 percent say they have less trust in government.

-- 69 percent feel it will be harder to reach the American Dream than it was for their parents; 73 percent say it will be still harder for their children or grandchildren to reach the American Dream.

-- 23 percent believe America is a country on the rise, down from 32 percent last year. Only 39 percent believe America represents the future, with 57 percent saying that the world looks to other nations now. And 52 percent say it's China that represents the future.

Here is the executive summary.