Almost all U.S. adults say they are at least somewhat proud to be an American citizen – and more than 3 in 4 say they are “very proud.” But what do we as U.S. adults associate with America and the American dream? According to The Harris Poll released last week:
- As far as symbols go, the American flag is by far the #1 symbol thought to represent America, followed by the Statue of Liberty and “the Star Spangled Banner.”
- With respect to food, we are not altogether united on what foods are typically considered American – but hamburgers/cheeseburgers come out on top as #1 by 23% of the public, followed by apple pie and hot dogs.
- And the American dream signifies to most U.S. adults living in freedom and owning a home. Slightly less than half (47%) say being financially secure.
Most of these figures remain fairly consistent between this year and spring 2002 (the last time we asked these questions and about eight months after 9/11 when patriotism was on high) except that:
- Freedom and equality feel less American today to Americans. Perhaps due to the wars we are currently fighting on foreign soil or the lack of recent attacks at home, “living in freedom” and “democracy” are less likely to be associated with the American dream today than they were 7 years ago. And Lady Liberty is less likely to be considered a top United States symbol.
- Likely due to the economic downturn, financial stability is more highly associated with the American dream today (perhaps unreachably so) to Americans. Today, Americans are more likely to cite “being financially secure” and “having a good job” with achieving the American dream than they were 7 years ago.
So what connotes America to you?