Americans Say Recession Has Changed Outlook on Life


Post-Recession Americans Redefine the American Dream: Although the vast majority of Americans say the Great Recession changed their outlook on life, nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents of a study by communications agency Solomon McCown & Company say they feel they have achieved the American Dream or are on their way to doing so.

The poll of 1,009 adults conducted by Anderson Robbins Research shows Americans remain worried, but are more thrifty and determined. They have redefined the American Dream to place more importance on achieving softer goals—a happy marriage, a healthy retirement and environmentally responsible living.

Study highlights include:

  • 24% of Americans report that their household has “mostly recovered” from the impact of the recession; 41% say they “still have a ways to go”; and 14% say they “might not ever fully recover.” 

  • A majority (56%) of those who feel they might not ever recover said they have already achieved the American Dream or are on their way to achieving it. 

  • Asked to rate the importance of different aspects of the American Dream, 83% pick “a happy marriage” as very or extremely important; “a long and healthy retirement” ranks second with 77%; and “living in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way” ranks third with 72%.

  • The majority of respondents report feeling more “thrifty” (68%), more “determined” (65%) but more “worried” (61%) today than they were before the recession.

Source: Solomon McCown & Company/Anderson Robbins Research


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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.



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