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Are Millennials Turning Their Backs on the American Dream?

Are Millennials Turning Their Backs on the American Dream?
By Joel Kotkin
November 10th 20136:45 am

Pundits on the left and right agree that millennials don’t share the same American dreams that inspired their parents. Could this diagnosis be wrong?

In his classic 1893 essay, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” historian Frederick Jackson Turner spoke of “the expansive character of American life.” Even though the frontier was closing, Turner argued, the fundamental nature of Americans was still defined by their incessant probing for “a new field of opportunity.” Turner’s claim held true for at least a century—during that time, the American spirit generated relentless technological improvement, the gradual creation of a mass middle class, and the integration of ever more diverse immigrants into the national narrative.

Yet today, many consider this modern period of “expansiveness” to be as doomed as the prairie frontier culture whose denouement Turner portrayed. Nothing makes this clearer than the perception of a majority of middle class Americans that their children will not do better than them, with as many as pessimistic about the future as are optimistic. Almost one-third of the public, according to Pew, consider themselves “lower” class , as opposed to middle class, up from barely one quarter in 2008.

4 thoughts on “Are Millennials Turning Their Backs on the American Dream?

  1. PJ these excel at failure , i know I am over generalizing , but it a pathetic generation total victims of the over cuddled nanny state

  2. At least they won’t be bullied or risk concussions playing football.

  3. I do not see how these marshmellows will be able to survive in the real world. We have terrorists trying to eliminate our way of life and these lightweights will never be able to have the balls to fight them.

  4. I have cousins who would be considered “millennials”. I feel bad for them and the post real estate bubble economy into which they graduated.

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