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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — American life is being redefined. Throw out the two-car garage and the three-kid family. When it comes to having children, more than half (51%) of respondents to a Learnvest and Chase Blueprint survey feel it's too expensive to raise kids in this day and age. Fully 60% believe that you need two incomes to even make ends meet – and more than one-third (37%) have even gone so far as to delay having children because of their financial situations.

As we continue to slog through a weak economy, the dream of home ownership is still taking it on the chin. Nearly a quarter of Americans say they regret purchasing their current home. There's just too much maintenance and upkeep. And besides, who lets their kids go outside and play anymore? While 80% said they were allowed, probably encouraged, to play outside -- unsupervised -- as kids, only 40% would let their children do so today.

Work life is not much better. A surprising 43% of those surveyed admit to being disappointed that haven't been more successful. But 6 in 10 feel lucky just to have a job, though 45% say they're simply working for a paycheck. In fact, 43% would rather never see the office, preferring to work remotely.

Fully one in ten agree with the statement, "a woman's place is in the home."

According to the survey, careers that suggest "you've made it" in America today are CEO (36%), entrepreneur (28%) and doctor (19%). At the bottom of the list were celebrity (4%) and lawyer (2%).

The results were gathered from 1,223 male and female respondents and weighted so that each age and gender group closely represented the general U.S. population.

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Nearly one-third (31%) said their parents had been better off than them. But a nearly equal number felt as well off, or even better off, then their parents.

And despite having a mountain of student debt, nearly two-thirds (65%) said that the money they spent on college was completely -- or mostly -- worth the cost. An equal number, two-thirds, feel you need a degree to get a good job. And 44% said that a college education helps you meet the "right" people.

But one out of every three feels a degree doesn't teach you the skills you really need to succeed in today's workplace.

Though the report seems to reflect a gloomy American mood, it is possible, with a great deal of effort, to put a positive spin on it. For example, one-third of those surveyed said America's best days are behind it. Now, that seems a bit pessimistic, until you compare it to a USA Today/Gallup survey at the beginning of this year that said fully half of us believed that.

All right then, things are looking up.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet