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Survey Confirms that Americans Overworked, Overspent and Rethinking the American Dream
Poll shows that a whopping 48% of Americans have actually
opted to make less money in order to get more time and a
balanced lifestyle.

TAKOMA PARK, Md., Sept. 1, 2004 -- It's Labor Day weekend
and many Americans need a break. According to a recent
national poll released by the Center for a New American
Dream, Americans are overworked, overspent and rethinking
the American dream. At a time when Americans are divided
politically, they seem to agree on one thing: we aren't
focused on what really matters. More than eight out of ten
Americans believe that society's priorities are "out of
whack" and 93% agree that Americans are too focused on
working and making money and not enough on family and
community. Almost as many (more than 8 in 10) say they
would be more satisfied with life if they just had less

A surprising number are actively taking steps to work less,
even if it means reducing their consumption. One critical
finding of the survey shows that many Americans have
voluntarily made changes in their lives in the past five
years that resulted in making less money. The primary
reasons given for voluntarily reducing work and income are a
desire for a less stressful and more balanced life and a
desire for more time. This is steep increase in the number
of self-proclaimed "down-shifters" compared to earlier

"Americans are getting worn out by the race for more. This
Labor Day, they are more interested in being with loved ones
rather than in hitting the mall," says Betsy Taylor,
President of the Center for a New American Dream.

The national survey reflects concerns over two related
trends in American society: excessive consumerism coupled
with economic insecurity. Eighty-eight percent believe that
American society is too materialistic with four of five
Americans saying that society is too focused on shopping and
spending. At the same time, nearly two-thirds (64%) report
that the American dream is harder to achieve than it was
even ten years ago and less than half of all Americans
believe they will achieve the American dream themselves.
When asked why, three in four Americans cited debt while six
out of ten said it's hard to make ends meet.

"Americans are mis-educated to be consumers and to value
wealth more than time. In a precarious economy, many are
fearful of falling into poverty. We're a hyped up, stressed,
tired and addiction-prone people. The two most radical
things we can do in America are slow down and talk to
people," says Mary Pipher, noted author and family therapist.

The poll suggests that politicians might do well to address
American concerns about over-work, overspending, and rising
levels of personal debt. More than half of Americans (53%)
say they would be willing to give up one day's pay per week
in exchange for one day off per week to spend with family
and friends and 83% agree that they would like more of what
really matters in life.

* This is a preview of a national public opinion survey
commissioned by the Center for a New American Dream and
conducted from August 4 - 9, 2004. The results are from a
census-balanced and nationally representative poll of 1,269
American adults ages 18 years of age and older. Widmeyer
Communications of Washington, D.C. conducted the survey for
the Center for a New American Dream. The margin of error
for the study is +/- 3.0%. The Center for A New American
Dream is a national non-profit organization that helps
Americans consume wisely.

To schedule an interview with Betsy Taylor, please contact,
Sarah Roberts at 301-891-3683. Full poll results available
at http://www.newdream.org.