As graduation season draws to a close, more and more high school and college graduates have tossed their tasseled caps in celebration, only to lower their economic expectations later.
A joint CNN-ORC poll released this week reports that nearly 6 in 10 young Americans believe the iconic American Dream has drifted out of reach.
Surveying more than a thousand young people, ages 18 to 34, researchers found 59 percent thought “the American dream has become impossible for most people to achieve.” An even higher and more pessimistic 63 percent believe their children will grow up “worse off” than both their parents and grandparents.
Despite the pessimistic poll numbers and sluggish job market—youth unemployment hovers around 16 percent—millenials shouldn’t give up on their dreams, says nationally syndicated radio host Bobby Bones.
Born Bobby Estell, Bones started in radio at just 17 years old. Now 33, he has climbed to the top of the Nashville broadcast ladder. Aired on 60 stations across the nation, his “Bobby Bones Show” stands as the most-listened-to country music morning show.
Reacting to the story on air, Bones pointed to his success as evidence that opportunity still exists for young Americans. “I do not believe the American Dream is out of reach in this country,” Bones said emphatically, “because I am living the American Dream.”
Though his path wasn’t easy, the rising star firmly believes hard work still holds the answer. “I went from food stamps and welfare to having my own national radio show,” he said.
To the next generation struggling to achieve the American dream, the radio host has a simple message: “All you have to do is work hard.”