The American Dream lies at the heart and soul of the country. In Chasing the American Dream, Mark Robert Rank, Thomas A. Hirschl, and Kirk A. Foster provide a new and innovative look into the well being of the dream in today's society. They combine for the first time interviews with dozens of Americans, along with a longitudinal study covering 40 years of income dynamics for the national population. By weaving these approaches together, they create a vibrant tapestry upon which to tell the story of the American Dream. Their findings reveal a number of surprises. For most Americans, the meaning of the American Dream lies not in wealth and riches, but rather in economic security, pursuing one's passions, and looking forward toward the future. Yet nearly 80 percent of the population will experience significant economic insecurity at some point between the ages of 25 and 60. In addition, the authors show that the risk of economic vulnerability has been increasing substantially over the past four decades. Yet in spite of these trends, Americans remain upbeat about achieving the American Dream at some point during their lifetimes, although many will struggle to do so.
The authors provide an innovative approach for thinking about and increasing the accessibility of the American Dream in the future. Chasing the American Dream provides readers with a new understanding into the dynamics that shape our fortunes, and a deeper insight into the centrality and importance of the American Dream for the future of the country.