Multicultural Americans Say the American Dream is Still in Reach

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November 10, 2022
Jack Mackinnon – Senior Director of Cultural Insights 

In one of our latest studies – America Now 2022: Harnessing American Identity to Navigate Social Issues – we uncovered multicultural Americans’ deep faith in the “American Dream.” Seventy-eight percent of Black, Asian, and Hispanic consumers say they have either already reached, or believe they can one day obtain the American Dream.

On the other hand, White consumers weren’t as confident, as only 69% of that segment said the Dream is reachable.

Read on and fill out the form for the recording from our America Now presentation.

To fully understand consumers’ conception of the American Dream, we asked Americans how they define it. Most told us the Dream comprises of homeownership, the ability to retire from work, freedom to live how one desires, and family life stability.

Taking that practical definition into account, we found that 25% of Asian consumers and 21% of Hispanics consumers said that they have already achieved the American Dream. Further, an additional 60% of Hispanic Americans, and 59% of Black Americans, said they haven’t reached the Dream yet, but they expect to fulfill the Dream in the future. 

Hispanic Americans and Black Americans exhibit more certainty in terms of their outlooks in comparison to other American segments. This belief carries over to the faith they have in seeking and eventually achieving the American Dream.

As stated, White Americans aren’t in agreement with this line of thinking. Twelve percent said the American Dream was out of reach for them. To that point, White respondents agree with Black Americans; 20% from both segments said the American Dream was never attainable, no matter how hard they worked in favor of one day reaching it.

The results were different, however, when we sought to understand pride in American. Findings showed that overall, Americans are “quite proud of their country.” Seventy-five percent of those surveyed said they are proud to be an American. White Americans were in front of all racial and ethnic demographics in regard to this question with 79% saying they agree with that sentiment. From the perspective of age, Boomers are the proudest, as 88% responded that they are proud of their country.

Sixty-five percent of Americans said they believe the United States is the best country in the world. Again, White Americans led in this category, with 69% sharing this viewpoint. Baby boomers were the generation that led in this group – 82% said the U.S. is the best country.

By contrast, younger generations were far less likely to agree with this sentiment of the U.S. being the best. Only 36% of Gen Z said the U.S. was the best in the world, compared to 68% of Gen Xers and 59% of millennials.

While Gen Z Americans have a completely different perspective of American exceptionalism, this doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the country. We must be mindful that this generation has had access to greater diversity and a more global perspective from an earlier age than all other older Americans. In turn, they have a unique mindset; they are more likely to look outward.

The America Now study also revealed an intriguing insight about how consumers assess gun violence. Multicultural consumers are the most concerned about such violence, as 80% of Black consumers said gun violence is serious or a very serious problem. Asian consumers agreed to the tune of 77% and Hispanic consumers concurred to the tune of 75%.

Black and Hispanic consumers were also on the same page regarding racism being a high-ranking area of concern, with 77% and 68% respectively, citing it as serious or very serious.

So, while multicultural Americans point to racism as a significant matter, they also say it’s an area where they do want brands to engage. This is especially the sentiment among younger Americans. Sixty-five percent of Gen Zer’s state that racism is a serious issue to them.

Brands should pay close attention to the complex mix of perceptions toward American social and political issues across diverse segments. Focus on insights pertaining to America, as well as the issues Americans care about and where they show concern.

Hispanic, Black, and Gen Z Americans are those most likely to say, ‘we want to see brands engaging in a set of topics we care about,’ such as racism or climate change. Moreover, these demographics are engaged and positive about the American Dream in surprising, if not counter-intuitive ways. It’s important to do the research to understand this phenomenon and how brands can activate successfully in this context.

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Jack McKinnon

Jack McKinnon

With more than 15 years of diverse consumer research experience, Jack Mackinnon offers deep expertise in Multicultural, Generational, LGBTQ+ consumers, and their intersection. Jack’s research extends into exploring culture-at-large, investigating broader societal trends not easily categorized into typical areas of research.

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