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Rising Share of Americans See Conflict Between Rich and Poor

January 11, 2012

The Occupy Wall Street movement no longer occupies Wall Street, but the issue of class conflict has captured a growing share of the national consciousness. A new Pew Research Center survey of 2,048 adults finds that about two-thirds of the public (66%) believes there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor — an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009.

Not only have perceptions of class conflict grown more prevalent; so, too, has the belief that these disputes are intense. According to the new survey, three-in-ten Americans (30%) say there are “very strong conflicts” between poor people and rich people. That is double the proportion that offered a similar view in July 2009 and the largest share expressing this opinion since the question was first asked in 1987.

As a result, in the public’s evaluations of divisions within American society, conflicts between rich and poor now rank ahead of three other potential sources of group tension — between immigrants and the native born; between blacks and whites; and between young and old. Back in 2009, more survey respondents said there were strong conflicts between immigrants and the native born than said the same about the rich and the poor.

See the full report for more findings on these subjects:

  • Perceptions of the wealthy
  • Social conflict in America
  • Income and perceptions of class conflict
  • Demographics of class conflict
  • Politics of class conflict
  • Views of how the rich got wealthy

Filed under economy money rich poor conflict between rich and poor the 1% divisions within American society social conflict sociology class conflict politics

20 notes

During depressions the rich usually do okay, and the poor, having little to lose and being on the government gravy train, will get by – they will demand and get more help from government. It is the middle class that will get killed because they save in dollars. When the dollar is ultimately destroyed, the middle class will be as well.
Doug Casey (

Filed under economy economics politics depressions rich poor middle class dollar death of the middle class