more Gallup

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Wed Oct 21 12:36:29 PDT 1998

[Hmm. More from Gallup...]

Those who characterize themselves as "rich" or "upper income" are actually more likely to perceive an increase in the percentage of Americans who are rich than are those who consider themselves "lower income" or "poor" (80% compared to 71%). And those who have experienced deprivation (not enough money to pay for food, clothes, or health care in the past year) are less likely to perceive that the percentage that is rich is increasing than are those who have not experienced deprivation. People's perceptions thus appear to be filtered through the lens of their own experience but, perhaps contrary to expectations, there is not a tendency for those at the bottom end of the economic spectrum to be most sensitive to increasing numbers of Americans at the top end.

A majority of Americans also believes that the percentage of Americans living in poverty is increasing, although it is a slimmer majority than those who perceive an increase in the percentage that is rich. In addition, the trends for these two items over time are moving in opposite directions. The percentage saying that poverty is decreasing, 32%, is well above any previously recorded level (among 4 measurements taken over the last 14 years), and the percentage saying that poverty is increasing, 62%, is, correspondingly, the lowest point in the historical trend.

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