Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Many People don't Realize they're Poor

Wealth inequality in the U.S. is very real, but yet 9 out of 10 Americans would be shocked to learn just by how much. And not only don't they realize how much the top 0.01% rakes in, a great many don't even realize how poor they are either (having misperceptions about their own class status as well.)

From Bruce Bartlett at the New York Times:

On Nov. 6, the Census Bureau published data based on the supplementary poverty measure for 2012. It shows a poverty rate of 16 percent, one percentage point higher than the official measure. The supplemental report also shows what the impact on poverty is of various government programs and personal expenses.

Thus [in the table below], we see that if the Social Security program did not exist, the poverty rate would be 24.4 percent, 8.4 percentage points higher than the 16 percent supplemental rate. In other words, Social Security reduces the poverty rate by about a third. Items below 16 percent add to the poverty rate. (Continued below)

Supplemental Poverty Rate

On Sept. 10, 2013, a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that when people were asked about their economic circumstances, only 12 percent of people classified themselves as poor, with 28 percent putting themselves in the working class, 42 percent in the middle class, 16 percent in the upper middle class and 1 percent calling themselves well-to-do.

On Nov. 30, 2012, a USA Today/Gallup poll asked about social class found that 10 percent of people defined themselves as lower class, with 31 percent in the working class, 42 percent in the middle class, 13 percent in the upper middle class and 2 percent in the upper class.

Gallup has been asking the same question for some years and the percentage of people in the lower class has trended up. In 2000, only 3 percent placed themselves in the lower class. At the same time, the percentage of people putting themselves in the middle class has fallen from 48 percent. The other classes are about the same.

According the Social Security Administration, almost a third of all wage earners in the U.S. had a net income of only $15,000 a year or LESS --- And 50% earned less than or equal to $27,519 last year. But yet, only 12% of working Americans classified themselves as poor; and 42% believed that they were in the middle class. And most people HAVE NO CLUE AT ALL as to how wealth is really distributed in the U.S.

And many rich people don’t really think they’re rich. In a survey, the vast majority of investors with $1 million in assets don’t consider themselves wealthy. (Read: 10 Most Obscene Lifestyles Choices of America's 1% Elite and Five ways the super rich are betraying America).

Watch the dramatic video below to see the vast wealth divide between rich and poor. It's no wonder most people aren't storming the ramparts...too many people still don't realize. But if they don't soon learn, and take to the streets in protest, they may end up sleeping on them instead.

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