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Vancouver, Canada

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The American Dream Goes To Canada

March 31, 2017

A white picket fence. A two car garage. A lawn of one’s own. Educated kids, social mobility, all your needs met.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about whether the American Dream is evaporating, at least, for Americans.

But, not so for our northern neighbors. In Canada, says former Canadian diplomat Scott Gilmore, achieving what we think of as the American Dream is a lot easier.

Not long ago, Gilmore noticed a big change at the border between the U.S. and Canada. “We had a strange thing happening over the last few months,” he explains. “We’ve got refugees arriving on our southern border, which has never happened before.”

Gilmore says that the refugees fall into two categories — economic migrants from Central and South America, and refugees who no longer feel safe or welcome in the United States.

Looking at the refugees, Gilmore wondered, is Canada a better place for them? And does that mean that the concept of America as a land of opportunity might be shifting?

Canada, as a whole, has been more welcoming to immigrants and refugees than Europe and the U.S. Gilmore thinks that, when you look at the numbers, it’s not that surprising. In the U.S., about 11 percent of our population is foreign born. In Canada, it's about 20 percent.  

Gilmore also found that immigrants are much more likely to succeed in Canada than in America. “Social mobility in the U.S. has declined,” Gilmore said. “So right now, if you’re living or born into the poorest one fifth of the population, you’re twice as likely to make it to the top fifth in Canada than you are in the United States.”

Canadians also live more than two years longer than Americans on average. They’re six times less likely to be incarcerated. And they work about 80 fewer hours per year than Americans.  

So is The American Dream dead? Maybe. But, according to Gilmore, the Canadian Dream is alive and well.


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