Friday, September 01, 2006

Problems and Who Has Them

Every now and then someone does a study that tells it like it is. This is the case with "Troubles in America: A Study of Negative Life Events Across Time and Sub-groups," by Tom Smith, Director of the General Social Survey of the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center. The study, prepared for the Russell Sage Foundation, is also mentioned in the post below and could be the subject of dozens of posts examining its many findings.

In both the 1991 and 2004 GSS surveys, a representative sample of Americans was asked whether they had experienced any of 66 problems during the past year. The incidence of problems alone is worth pondering. Here is a look at the some of the troubles and the percentage of Americans experiencing them in the past 12 months, based on the 2004 survey:

Sick enough to go to a doctor: 56.2
Death of a close friend: 22.0
Lacking health insurance coverage: 17.9
Major home repairs: 15.4
Being unemployed for as long as a month: 14.5
A major worsening of one's financial condition: 13.1
Not having a car for at least one month: 8.3
Undergoing counseling for emotional problems: 7.4
A cut in pay: 6.8
Having serious trouble with a child: 6.3
Being discriminated against: 4.7
Death of a parent: 3.1
Getting divorced: 2.7
Home destroyed or damaged by fire, flood, etc.: 2.0

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