Skip to content

Survey Says, Asian Americans More Optimistic About the American Dream

5 Dec 2010

According to a recent survey conducted by MetLife on the American Dream, Asian Americans clocked in as the ethnic group most optimistic about the future’s promise. Nearly one-half, or 47 per cent, reported that they believed their personal situation would improve this year over 2009. In comparison, only 35 per cent of the general American public believed the same.

This comes on the heels of a discouraging report this summer, which suggested a greater number of college-educated Asian Americans are struggling to find employment. As 2010 draws to a close and we find ourselves on the cusp of a new, anxious decade, have Asian Americans found what they’ve been searching for?

34 per cent of Asian Americans say yes, they’ve already reached American Dream levels of fulfillment. Moreover, a whopping 89 per cent of Asian Americans who are yet to strike it rich are confident they will in their lifetime; here is where the newfound optimism emerges: in comparison, only 70 per cent of Americans overall believe they’ll achieve the Dream. What powerful force could contribute to an additional 20 per cent of optimism amongst the Asian American demographic? John Derbick, a senior vice president at MetLife, observed that saving habits could explain their greater sense of security:

Like the general population, most Asian Americans believe that a full economic recovery is still three or more years away. Despite this, they are still more optimistic than the overall population about their personal financial situation, possibly due to the personal safety nets they’ve put in place prior to the market downturn.

The conversation steers inevitably toward what exactly constitutes the vague concept of the “American Dream.” Nearly one third of Asian Americans are likely to consider finance (or, as 50 Cent once said: “Get rich, or die trying.”) and “a successful career” in their discussion of the dream; as for the general public, the professional aspect in fact only comprises an insignificant 8 per cent. Presumably, the job is merely a means to an end.

Ultimately, the survey suggests that the success of the American Dream isn’t measured solely by possessing money, but by using it to purchase “things.” From the Asian Journal:

Asian Americans are also more likely than Americans overall to feel strong pressure to increase material possessions despite a challenging economy. Nearly four in ten (38%) say “For me, achieving the American dream is about improving the quality of my life by increasing personal possessions,” compared with 23% of the general public. And, more than half (55%) agree that “The pressure I feel to buy more and better material possessions is greater than ever,” compared with 29% of all respondents.

And as we gawk at the likes of Asian-American rap group Far East Movement and the reality TV cast of K-Town — expounding their philosophy of drink, party, repeat — the American Dream is seemingly as much about display as it is ownership; that is, money don’t count if nobody sees you throwing down. But for how long will the G6 fly? Certainly wings don’t just float on optimism alone.

[via 8asians; image via aatheory]

Become a fan of 21st Century Boy on Facebook.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. jsw permalink
    5 Dec 2010 10:23 PM

    really with that picture?

    • 6 Dec 2010 11:25 AM

      I thought a provocative image would work well here. What constitutes the American Dream? Is it an excessively materialist aspiration?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: