Americans retain optimism in recession
By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans remain broadly optimistic about their economic prospects in the middle of the most severe recession since World War Two, according to a survey released on Thursday.
The Pew Economic Mobility Project found that despite dismal economic conditions and decades of widening income inequality, Americans still widely believe in the "American Dream": the idea that success is determined by one's willingness to work hard, not the circumstances of one's birth or other external forces.
The nationwide survey of 2,119 adults found that:
* 79 percent said it is still possible to get ahead in the current economy;
* 72 percent said they believed they will personally be better off 10 years from now;
* 74 percent said they were at least somewhat in control of their economic situation, but only 43 percent said that other people were in control;
* 71 percent said personal ambition was a more important determinant of success than external conditions.
But the survey also reflected the worsening economy: only 32 percent rated their own personal circumstances as "excellent" or "good," down from 52 percent in 2006. Continued...