Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hard Times Change Minds

A few years ago, only 43 percent of non-Hispanic whites saw a conflict between rich and poor in the United States. That was before the ranks of the poor and almost-poor expanded to encompass nearly half the American population--including many non-Hispanic whites who once thought unemployment, loss of health insurance, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and homelessness happened only to other people.

My, how times have changed. As the Great Recession evolved from a temporary setback to a permanent condition, the attitudes of non-Hispanic whites have been transformed. Fully 65 percent now say there is a "strong" or "very strong" conflict between rich and poor in the United States--up 22 percentage points in just two years. Non-Hispanic whites are more likely to see a conflict than Hispanics (61 percent), but still less likely to see one than blacks (74 percent).

Source: Pew Research Center, Rising Share of Americans See Conflict between Rich and Poor

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