American Dream Insights – December 2014

Dr. Gregory Smith

Dr. Gregory Smith

Interview with Xavier University Professor Dr. Gregory Smith

Job environment and satisfaction with job benefits and security are part of the ADCI Economic sub-index. What do the December ADCI data suggest about people’s sentiment with respect to their job situation?

Dr. Greg Smith: The job area continues to be a strength. Both the job environment and job benefit sentiment remain well above the median value. Interestingly, the one area that is down this month is the attitude towards pay. Playing on a common theme, it seems that people are becoming very satisfied with the type, quality, etc. of their jobs. The one thing they are looking to improve is salary. Could 2015 be the year of the salary increase?

Health care is a dimension of the ADCI Economic sub-index, and reflects people’s belief that they are able to access and afford good health care. Do the December data provide any unique insight into how people are feeling about their health care?           

Dr. Greg Smith: If there is one thing we can say about health care sentiment is that it is resilient. It continues its climb in value. Affordability and quality are at or near all-time highs. The overall sentiment towards one’s own health care is at a new all-time high.   No matter if we like it or not as a topic to talk about, the average sentiment of people living in the United States is very positive and encouraging.

The ability to meet expenses and afford desired material possessions (aka Material prosperity) is also a dimension of the ADCI Economic Sub-index. Are people feeling better about their ability to afford what they want in life?

Dr. Greg Smith: When it comes to the things we want to buy, my ability to buy durable goods, and meeting my everyday expenses, Americans, on average, are feeling about as good about their current position as they have in a long time. Couple this with growing sentiment towards financial security, it is hard to ignore the impact of the improvements in our economy.

Social status is an important consideration in most people’s American Dream. In the ADCI Report, it is one dimension of the ADCI Well-Being sub-index. Are people feeling better about how they are regarded by others?

Dr. Greg Smith: Interestingly, when queried about their satisfaction towards their own social status, respondents are at an all-time high in sentiment. When split out by income level –

Less than $40K

$40 to 80K

$80K+

All three sub-groups are at all-time highs. Unfortunately, the overall sentiment towards social status is below the historic average when job status and community status are incorporated. However, it is hard to ignore such a large increase in all income segments of a survey of this size.

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