Fewer than half of Americans say a successful career is necessary to achieve the American Dream

Growing up, your definition of “making it” to the American Dream may have included triumphing in your career and making stacks of cash.

But while some Americans deem “a successful career” as essential to their achievement of the American Dream, this is no longer absolutely vital, according to recently reported results from Pew Research Center.

Although Pew reports that there have been “persistently low levels of public satisfaction” overall, some 36% of Americans say their families already have the dream, and 46% say they’re on the path “to achieving it.”

Only 17% say it’s “out of reach” for them.

What’s ‘essential’ to the American Dream may not be what you think


“Freedom of choice in how to live” was, hands-down, chosen as the most essential aspect of people’s conception of the American Dream at 77% — just 22% rated it as “important, not essential.” Just 1% said it was “not important.”

Sixty percent said to “retire comfortably” was “essential.”

Again, jobs and money took somewhat of a backseat when it comes to what Americans find “essential” to the American Dream.

While having a successful career was the most crucial part for 43% of people, 50% rated it as “important, not essential,” and 6% said it’s “not important.”

While a sliver of people — 11% — said that to “become wealthy” was the most important part of the American Dream, 49% rated it as “important, not essential,” and a whopping 40% said it is “not important.”