Americans more likely to view selves as lower class
September 12, 2012, 12:00 am TWN
WASHINGTON--More Americans — including growing numbers of young people and whites — see themselves as members of the lower classes, according to a study released Monday.
At 32 percent, about a third of adults consider themselves part of society's disadvantaged sectors, up from a quarter four years ago, according to a national survey carried out by the Pew Research Center.
Thirty-nine percent of young adults aged between 18 and 29 say they are on the lower rungs of the social ladder, an increase of 14 points over 2008.
While four years ago 23 percent of whites saw themselves as lower class, this year's figure stands at 31 percent. In contrast, the number of blacks who identify as lower class stayed unchanged at 33 percent.
Times have been particularly tough on the lower class, with eight in 10 adults — or 84 percent — saying they had to cut back on spending in the past year due to financial shortfalls.
But that's not all.
“Those in the lower classes also say they are less happy and less healthy, and the stress they report experiencing is more than other adults,” the survey said.
About three-quarters, or 77 percent, say it is harder to get ahead now than it was a decade ago.
Blacks and Hispanics are more optimistic about the future of their children than whites, 42 percent of whom think their children's standard of living will be worse than their own.
The findings are based on telephone interviews with 2,508 adults between July 16 and 26.