Americans remain optimistic about their ability to "get ahead," despite the challenging economic recovery, but many have lowered their expectations about what "getting ahead" actually means in the face of rising college costs, jobs going overseas, and a growing income gap, according to poll results from The Allstate Corporation and National Journal.
"Americans continue to hold an aspirational view of their own ability to get ahead in the future and the ability of the country to rebound, but they believe that achieving their life goals is harder than it used to be and the path to those goals is more uncertain," said Joan Walker, executive vice president of corporate relations for Allstate. "At the same time, the economic and psychological impact of the Great Recession clearly continues as Americans are recalibrating the very definition of what getting ahead means and increasingly seeking stability and security over riskier chances for upward mobility. Managing through a protracted period of stagnant job growth and depressed wages, reducing personal debt and grappling with higher education costs are all significant components of the new social and economic paradigm for middle-class families."
The 14th quarterly Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll explores perceptions of upward mobility among Americans and sheds new light on the challenges and obstacles they face in their continued efforts to get ahead. Findings:
* 48% of Americans say they have more opportunity to get ahead than their parents did
* 28% say they have the same opportunity
* 23% say they have fewer opportunities
73% say they expect to reach financial security and comfort in their lifetime
51% of Americans say the economic downturn has redefined what it means to "get ahead," defining success today as holding a job, paying bills, avoiding debt, and saving a little for the future, rather than bigger success factors, like steady increases in income, buying a home, or saving and investing more each year.
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