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U.S. Census family income data,

Ways People Can Realize the Dream

Today, home ownership is frequently cited as an example of attaining the American Dream. It is a symbol of financial success and independence, and it means the ability to control one’s own dwelling place instead of being subject to the whims of a landlord. Owning a business and being one’s own boss also represent American Dream fulfillment. In addition, access to education and healthcare have been cited as elements of the Dream.

In “Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890-1945,” sociologist Emily S. Rosenberg identifies five components of the American Dream that have shown up in countries around the world. These include the belief that other nations should replicate America’s development; faith in a free market economy; support for free trade agreements and foreign direct investment; promotion of a free flow of information and culture; and acceptance of government protection of private enterprise.

The American Dream was aided by a number of factors that gave the United States a competitive advantage over other countries. For starters, it is relatively isolated geographically, compared to many other countries, and enjoys a temperate climate. It has a culturally diverse population that businesses use to foster innovation in a global landscape. Abundant natural resources—including oil, arable land, and long coastlines—generate food and income for the country and its residents.