The Core Tenets Of The American Dream

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A core tenet of the American dream is home ownership. At the turn of the century, young adults were buying homes. However, since the bursting of the housing bubble and the resulting mortgage banking crash, the rate of younger Americans purchasing a home has fallen sharply. Many millenials – those born between 1981 and 1997 – want to own a home, but doing so is financially beyond their reach. Half of recent college graduates have no full-time job (Kadlec, 2014), and those that do may be described as underemployed. The increasing diversity of that demographic is positively correlated with the downward trend in personal economic health (Drew, 2015; Myers & Simmons, 2017). The worsening financial strain leads young adults to postpone marriage and family, which also reduces the need for them to own a home. In fairness, the problem faced by millenials is only a microcosm of that faced by the populace as a whole. Home ownership for the population as a whole is the lowest it has been in over 20 years (Fry & Brown, 2016). Home prices are increasing, but personal incomes are not keeping pace (Myers, Painter, Zissimopoulos, Lee, & Thunell, 2017). Faltering incomes and a shabby labor market that produces only low-paying jobs are key culprits to home ownership for the young (Myers & Simmons, 2017). Surveys among renters show that 65-72% would own rather than rent, if they were financially able (Fry & Brown, 2016). The problem is more extreme for the poor. Prior to 2008,
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