Pew Study Finds Most Americans Don’t Believe People Are Rich Because They Work Harder or Poor Because They Don’t Work Hard Enough

U.S. currency and coins in a vault at a bank in Westminster, Colorado. | (Photo: Reuters/Rick Wilking)

Most Americans don’t believe people are rich because they work harder than other people or poor because they don’t work hard enough, according to a new study published by the Pew Research Center.

In the results of a poll released Monday, some 65% of U.S. adults said people are rich because they had more advantages in life than others, while only 33% said it’s because they work harder than others.

When it comes to the question of why people are poor, some 71% of respondents attributed it to having to face more obstacles in life. Only 26 percent of respondents in the poll conducted Jan. 6-19 among 12,638 U.S. adults who are members of the Center’s American Trends Panel, said people are poor because they don’t work hard enough.

And people’s views of the determinants of wealth from this recent poll appear to align with other recent studies that show how income inequality and other factors such as being raised in poverty has contributed to a stifling of the American dream and upward mobility for a share of the population.

The Census Bureau found that 38.1 million people in 2018 were poor, which is 1.4 million fewer poor people than in 2017.  This means about one in eight Americans still live below the poverty line — $25,465 for a family with two adults and two children.

In a recent interview explaining why working hard is simply no longer enough for many to achieve the American dream, Raj Chetty, director of Opportunity Insights at Harvard University, pointed to some of his team’s research.

“Back in the 1940s and 1950s, virtually all kids in America would grow up to have a higher standard of living than their parents did. So for children born in 1940, for example, 90 percent of them went on to have a higher standard of living than their parents. And if you look at kids who were born in the 1980s, who are turning 30 today, when we’re measuring their incomes that number is down to 50 percent,” he said.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair