(NEW YORK) — In a dispiriting sign of the times, barely more than a quarter of Americans say the American dream still holds true — about half as many as said so 13 years ago.

Defined as “if you work hard you’ll get ahead,” just 27% in a new ABC News/Ipsos poll say the American dream still holds, down sharply from 50% when the question first was asked in 2010. Eighteen percent now say it never held true, up from 4%.

The rest, 52%, say the promise used to hold true but no longer does, up 9 points. Taken together, 69% say the American dream does not hold true today, up 22 points. And that’s in comparison to a poll taken in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

Although pessimism about the American dream has grown across groups, the change is sharpest among young adults. Their view that the American dream still holds true has dropped by 35 points, from 56% in 2010 to 21% now.

That compares with a 24-point decline among those ages 30 to 64 and 12 points among those 65 and older.

Differences among other groups also are evident. The survey, produced by Langer Research Associates with fieldwork by Ipsos, finds that attitudes of Black Americans towards the concept of the American dream are notably pessimistic.

The share of Black people who say it still holds true has fallen by 34 points, to 21%, compared with a 22-point drop among those of other racial or ethnic backgrounds.

Indeed, 32% of Black people say the American dream never held true, which is up 23 points from 2010, compared with 16% of others, which is up 13 points.

Income also differentiates views. Among people with household incomes less than $50,000 a year, just 18% say the American dream still holds true. It’s 27% in the $50,000- to less-than-$100,000 bracket and 33% among those in $100,000-plus households.

There’s also a gap by education, which correlates with income. Among people who haven’t gone beyond high school, 22% say the American dream still holds true (down 25 points from 2010), compared with 40% of those with a postgraduate degree (down 19 points).

Partisan differences are muted: A third of Republicans and Democrats alike say the American dream still holds true, as do a quarter of independents. Declines since 2010 are largely consistent across these groups.

Economic attitudes, predictably, matter as well. Among those who rate the economy positively, 45% say the American dream still holds true, compared with 22% of those who say the economy is in bad shape.

And it’s 41% among those who say they’ve gotten better off financially since the start of Joe Biden’s presidency vs. 23% among those who are worse off.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted online via the probability-based Ipsos KnowledgePanel® Jan. 4-8, 2024, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 2,228 adults. Partisan divisions are 25-25-41 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 2.5 percentage points, including the design effect, for the full sample. Sampling error is not the only source of differences in polls.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, with sampling and data collection by Ipsos. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

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