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The core elements that define the American Dream have remained remarkably stable over time. Education, the freedom to live one’s life as one wants, and a home of one’s own show up in many surveys as important parts of the dream —but becoming wealthy does not.
The ability to be rewarded for hard work seems to have become the broader replacement for the ability to get a high school or college education. Today, is it necessary to get a high level of education to be rewarded for hard work?
It is incredibly refreshing that becoming wealthy is not typically associated with the American Dream. Just as interesting, however, is that the Top 5 responses for 2013 tallied significantly less overall percentage point 'agreement' than did the Top 5 for 1986. It seems as if the meaning of the American Dream for individual people has increasingly diversified since the 1980s.