The American Dream Composite Index Frequently Asked Questions.

How does the ADCI differ from other published indices, such as the Consumer Price Index and the Consumer Sentiment Index?

The ADCI represents the first measurement that quantifies the American Dream in its entirety. A comprehensive and robust measure, the ADCI gauges our nation’s well-being as a function of the multifaceted American Dream. The ADCI takes into account all aspects of life in its calculation. It measures true aspiration.

Why should we measure the American Dream as an index?

As a statistically validated measure, the ADCI provides business, media and non-profit organizations, universities, and institutions with valuable insight into the current economic, political, and societal conditions in the United States. Furthermore, the Index will reveal how people living in the U.S. feel about their personal well-being and the physical environment.
By illuminating current and future trends in significant market segments, such as Housing, Retail, Technology, Automotive, and Financial, the ADCI can help organizations develop successful strategic plans. The ADCI can also serve as a tool to confirm and validate an organization’s preexisting market research.

How many questions are asked each month and what do these questions cover?

Each month, some 1,000 respondents—representative of the US population—respond to 139 statements pertaining to various aspects of the American Dream. Responses to these statements comprise the 35 ADCI dimensions that ultimately make-up the ADCI.

What are the “eye-opening” results that you highlight on the website?

Every month, in addition to collecting our standard specific Index data, the American Dream Composite Index™ probes further, with several follow-up snapshot questions to add to the ongoing research of the Center for the Study of the American Dream at Xavier University. These “eye-opener” results provide a unique look at a particular current aspect of the American Dream.

What does the ADCI number represent?

The monthly index number is a gauge of the level of how well people living in the U.S. are doing at achieving the American Dream. The ADCI is based on a scale from 0 to 100. At any one time, the ADCI shows us that we are a certain percentage of the way to achieving the American Dream as a nation.

Will the ADCI ever reach 100 percent?

As long as there are people who are not satisfied with any aspect of their lives, the ADCI will never be able to reach 100 percent as a national scale. However, it is possible that there are individuals who could potentially achieve an ADCI score of 100.

Is the current ADCI number good or bad?

With the current data collected, we can see trends indicating patterns pulled from the ADCI numbers. Based on the current numbers, an ADCI measure of 3 points above the overarching monthly ADCI number is good. An ADCI measure of 5 points above the overarching ADCI number is great. These good and great measurements are based on performance of consistent performing individual groups surveyed.

How can a business use the ADCI?

The ADCI can be custom cut among a variety of demographic and psychographics. The ADCI allows you to better understand the opportunities for products and services among a number of groups of people living in the U.S. For large corporations that collect market research, the ADCI could support or refute their data.


From the ADCI Blog

  • Workplace Dissatisfaction
    With all the talk the past few months about jobs and employment, I thought it might be interesting to view some recent perspectives on the matter from the ADCI data. In October we saw the steepest …
  • Gasoline Prices and The Savings Rate
    In the past few weeks, we’ve coined the term ‘a happy accident’ to explain why gas prices have declined so much, while retail sales have been flat, and the savings rate has …

Eye-Opening Results

"45% of all respondents say they would pay more for services like fast food if it meant the workers were paid more than minimum wage. These responses closely matched the reported political ideology where less than 30% of conservatives and 60% of liberals said they would pay more for these services if it meant better wages for workers."

"Over half of millennials report they would work more hours at their current primary job if given the opportunity"

"We use survey-reported factors to predict monthly retail sales, consumer sentiment, GDP, housing sales, discretionary income and spending." 

"As expected, credit card debt is the highest source of debt for most respondents outside of a mortgage.  This is even the case for millennials--23% of whom say student loans are their largest source of debt and 46% say credit cards are their largest source of debt."

Connect with Us

American Dream Composite Index
Xavier University
C/O Gregory Smith

Cincinnati, OH