Barriers to American dream face young professionals

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) — Twenty-nine-year-old Nadia Nabulsi is looking to take a big step in her life: buying her first home.

“This is a dream that at like some point it felt it’s out of reach, and now being here, looking for places, I’m living that dream,” Nabulsi said.

For Nabulsi, buying a home is one step toward the American dream, an idea she learned about growing up in Palestine and Jordan.

“It’s basically being able to achieve whatever you want in life regardless of who you are and what you believe in,” Nabulsi said.

The idea of the American dream is as old as this country, but at a conference in Washington D.C., experts said new economic forces are getting in the way of achieving it.

“What it’s really done is it’s reduced or even eliminated good paying jobs for people with only a high school diploma,” said Georgetown University Public Policy Professor Harry Holzer.

The experts said people’s race or economic status can dictate the kinds of options they have in life.

“That then leads to a high quality or a lower quality education, which then leads to a higher or lower quality job,” Mark Rank said.

For Nabulsi, who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering, the obstacles to achieving her dream have taken a while to overcome.

“I mean for me, specifically buying a home coming out of college with college loans and having to be independent and living on my own, it was … it was hard,” Nabulsi said.

But she said the hard work made the moment even more special.

“It’s a turning point in my life. I feel more independent. I feel that I achieved something,” Nabulsi said.

Research shows that kind of optimism is a major reason the American dream survives difficult times.

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