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The house, the car, the good education. Many Americans have reached the traditional milestones of the American Dream, but a new poll says they fail to recognize the signs. The poll, conducted by marketing firm DDB as part of its 2014 Life Style Study, found that only 40 percent of American adults over the age of 18 believed they were "living the American Dream." That same 7,015-person study also found that sizable majorities reported owning a home, receiving a "good education," finding a "decent job" and giving their children better lives than they themselves had. Denise Delahorne, senior vice president at DDB, who worked closely with the survey, theorized that many people do not see themselves as having attained the traditional American Dream because of a shifting definition of the term. "If you're new to this country, then life seems pretty good here," Delahorne said. "But for many people who have lived here a long time, they've started to think of the American Dream less as the traditional elements, and more relative to wealth."

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-- By CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld