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Poll shows faith in American dream is eroding as inflation takes hold

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RALEIGH — A new survey from a left-leaning Washington, D.C. think tank shows that our nation’s faith in the American dream has reached an all-time low compared to the last several decades.

One-third of respondents to the 2022 American Family Survey by the Brookings Institution said they believed their children would be better off financially than they are. That same strain of pessimism extended to a question worded around whether children will be better off in non-financial ways — to life more generally — with just 15% saying they were “very confident” this would be the case.

The survey also showed that inflation tops the list of economic concerns of American families. Eighty-nine percent said they are at least “somewhat worried” about inflation, and 56% are “very worried.” Topping the list of items for which Americans have seen the highest price hikes are food and transportation.

Americans also don’t believe their incomes will keep up with inflation. More than half of respondents said they expected their income to fall behind prices in the near term, while less than a quarter estimated their paychecks would keep pace.

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On the question of who or what is to blame for inflation, the Biden administration’s policies ranked first — at 34% of respondents — followed by supply chain disruptions, the war in Ukraine, the Trump administration, spending bills passed by Congress, and Federal Reserve policies.

There was some good news in the survey. Americans who are religious and politically conservative reported much higher levels of life satisfaction compared to their secular or politically liberal neighbors. Conservatives are 16% more likely to be “completely satisfied” with their lives, while religious Americans who regularly attend services are 21% more likely to report the same.

The sample size of the American Family Survey is 3,000 Americans.

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