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Wealthy Americans with College Degrees Drink More Than Other Americans, Poll Finds

This Gallup poll finds that rich and educated Americans may drink more because they can afford to

This Gallup poll found that beer is the preferred drink among Americans and wine is preferred among the wealthy and educated.

If you’re rich and well educated, you probably drink more than other Americans.

According to a Gallup poll, eight out of 10 adults in this socioeconomic group drink. The poll found that 78 percent of Americans who make $75,000 in annual household income and 80 percent of Americans who graduated from college enjoy alcoholic beverages.

Gallup suggests that income and education are an effective way to measure Americans’ alcohol consumption. People with a higher socioeconomic status have more money to buy alcohol, dine out at restaurants, or socialize with coworkers.

Higher-income and well-educated adults said that they do not overindulge in alcohol. Data showed that college graduates are significantly less likely to overdrink compared to non-college graduates. But, some poll participants could be dishonest about their overdrinking habits because they do not want to exhibit undesirable behavior on a public survey, so these numbers could actually be higher among both parties.

College graduates who drink said that wine is their drink of choice. Forty-four percent of college graduates said they prefer wine, while 35 percent prefer beer. But 42 percent of everyone who was polled said they prefer beer over the 34 percent who favored wine.

This poll is based on telephone interviews conducted by Gallup from July 8 to 12.

The Psychology Of Materialism, And Why It's Making You Unhappy

More money, more problems? It might just be true. Americans today, compared to 55 years ago, own twice as many cars and eat out twice as much per person, but we don't seem to be any happier because of it. Rather than rising levels of well-being, we've seen mounting credit card debt and increasing numbers of self-storage facilities to house the things we compulsively buy.

The holidays in particular have become a time when consumer culture comes out in full force. Black Friday, the annual post-Thanksgiving discount shopping spree, results each year in multiple deaths and injuries of consumers trampled by crowds in stores and shopping malls.

In a poignant, viral Huffington Post blog last month, "If You Shop On Thanksgiving, You're Part Of The Problem," writer Matt Walsh cast a harsh light on what the holiday shopping frenzy really says about our culture:

That's our entire economic system: buy things. Everybody buy. It doesn't matter what you buy. Just buy. It doesn't matter if you don't have money. Just buy. Our entire civilization now rests on the assumption that, no matter what else happens, we will all continue to buy lots and lots of things. Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy. And then buy a little more. Don't create, or produce, or discover -- just buy. Never save, never invest, never cut back -- just buy. Buy what you don't need with money you don't have. Buy like you breathe, only more frequently.

To some extent, most of us participate in consumer culture and value material possessions, and that's perfectly fine. But in excess, materialism can take a toll on your well-being, relationships and quality of life. Here are six things you should know about the psychology of consumption -- and strategies to find freedom from materialism.

Consumer culture may be harming individual well-being.

Research suggests that Americans' well-being has, if anything, declined since the 1950s, according to the American Psychological Association, while our consumption has only increased.

"Compared with their grandparents, today's young adults have grown up with much more affluence, slightly less happiness and much greater risk of depression and assorted social pathology," David G. Myers, author of The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty, wrote in an American Psychologist article. "Our becoming much better off over the last four decades has not been accompanied by one iota of increased subjective well-being."

The materialistic values that consumer cultures support may be to blame. Those who pursue wealth and material possessions tend to be less satisfied and experience fewer positive emotions each day. On the other hand, research has found that life satisfaction -- surprise, surprise -- is correlated with having less materialistic values.

Materialist values are linked to Type-A behavior.

Are you highly ambitious and competitive? It could mean you're also more materialistic. Australian research from the 1990s found materialist values and a possessions-based definition of success share common characteristics with type-A behaviors, including competitiveness and aggression. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology reiterated the finding that the desire to accumulate wealth and possessions is related to Type-A qualities.

Money really can't buy you happiness.

The Beatles wisely noted that money can't buy love, and we'd do well to remember that money can't buy happiness, either. Research has shown that there is no direct correlation between income and happiness. Once our basic needs are met, wealth makes very little difference to one's overall well-being and happiness. And in fact, extremely wealthy people actually suffer from higher rates of depression.

“The failure of additional wealth and consumption to help people have satisfying lives may be the most eloquent argument for reevaluating our current approach to consumption,” the authors of Worldwatch Institute's 2011 State of Consumption report wrote.

Some data, however, has suggested that there could be a link between higher income and increased life satisfaction. It seems that it may not be the money itself that leads to dissatisfaction, but rather, the continual striving for greater wealth and more possessions that is linked to unhappiness.

Materialism could ruin your relationships.

Can money buy you love? Not so much, and according to a study published in the Journal Of Couple & Marriage Therapy, materialism is actually correlated with unhappiness in marriages. Researchers studied more than 1,700 couples to find that those in which both partners had high levels of materialism exhibited lower marital quality than couples with lower materialism scores. Previous studies have found that students with higher extrinsic, materialistic values tend to have lower-quality relationships, and to feel less connected to others.

Materialistic people also typically have less pro-social and empathetic qualities, both towards others and towards the environment.

Consumer cultures may breed narcissistic personalities.

Some psychologists have suggested that consumer cultures may contribute to the development of narcissistic personalities and behaviors, "by focusing individuals on the glorification of consumption," psychologist Tim Kasser wrote in The High Price Of Materialism. Narcissists generally act with arrogance and are deeply concerned with issues of personal adequacy, seeking power and prestige to cover for feelings of inner emptiness and low-self worth, Kasser explains.

"Narcissists' desire for external validation fits well with our conception of materialistic values as extrinsic and focused on others' praise," he writes. "Thus it was not surprising to find that students with strong materialistic tendencies scored high on a standard measure of narcissism, agreeing with statements such as 'I am more capable than other people' . 'I wish somebody would write my biography someday.'"

Consumerism is fueled by insecurity -- and remedied by mindfulness.

Research suggests that materialistic values are fueled by insecurity. A 2002 study published in the journal Psychology and Marketing found that those who chronically doubt themselves and their own self-worth tend to be more materialistic.

Consumerism -- which has been called a "modern religion" -- tends to capitalize on this insecurity and use it to sell products.

"In a practical sense, consumerism is a belief system and culture that promotes consuming as the path to self- and social improvement," Stephanie Kaza, University of Vermont Environment Professor and Buddhism practitioner, wrote in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. "As a dominant cultural force, consumerism offers products to address every dissatisfaction."

So what's the antidote? Mindfulness -- the focused awareness on the present moment, which can be cultivated through meditation and contemplative practice -- may be an effective remedy to empty or compulsive consumption. As beat writer and American Buddhist thinker Allen Ginsberg put it in a 1966 letter to the Washington Post: "You own twice as much rug if you're twice as aware of the rug."

Americans are redefining success beyond money and power.

Our collective definition of the American Dream is slowly starting to change from one of materialism to a more purposeful idea of what it means to live the good life. According to the 2013 LifeTwist study, only around one-quarter of Americans still believe that wealth determines success.

"Dozens of the survey’s findings reflect a new American notion of success, but perhaps none more starkly than the sentiment that Americans ranked 'having a lot of money' 20th on a list of 22 possible contributors to having a successful life," the LifeTwist Study's authors wrote in a press release. "This sentiment mirrors the steadily rising trend . that Americans are increasingly placing greater priority on living a fulfilling life –- in which being wealthy is not the most significant factor."

Most Americans do not feel represented by Democrats or Republicans – survey

Dissatisfaction with both Democrats and Republicans has risen sharply since 1990, when less than half held that neither reflected their opinions, according to research by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).

The seventh annual 2016 American Values Survey was carried out throughout September among a random sample of 2,010 adults in all 50 states.

Both party establishments have been rattled by the outsider challenges of Donald Trump, who was successful in winning his party’s nomination, and Bernie Sanders, who was not. In a year that seems ripe for third-party candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Green party are seeking to capitalise but have fallen back in the polls in recent weeks.

Sixty-one per cent of survey respondents say neither political party reflects their opinions today, while 38% disagree. Nearly eight in 10 (77%) independents and a majority (54%) of Republicans took this position, while less than half (46%) of Democrats agree. There was virtually no variation across class or race.

Both Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican standard bearer Trump continue to suffer historically low favourability ratings, with less than half of the public viewing each candidate positively (41% v 33%). Clinton is viewed less favourably than the Democratic party (49%), but Trump’s low rating is more consistent with the Republican party’s own favourability (36%).

The discontent with parties and candidates extends to the electoral process itself, which Trump claims is rigged against him. Less than half the public (43%) say they have a great deal of confidence that their vote will be counted accurately, while 38% have some confidence and 17% have hardly any confidence.

Party affiliation shapes perception. About two in three Republicans believe voter fraud is a bigger problem than voter disenfranchisement, whereas two in three Democrats say eligible voters being denied access is the greater concern. Studies have found cases of voter fraud to be minuscule.

The PRRI found that pessimism about the direction of the US is significantly higher today (74%) than it was at this time during the 2012 presidential race, when 57% of the public said the country was on the wrong track.

Indeed, there is hankering, at least on one side of the aisle, for a perceived golden age. The 1950s might have been the decade of Soviets launching Sputnik, of anti-communist witch-hunts and of persistent racial segregation, but 72% of Trump’s likely voters say American culture and way of life has changed for the worse since then. Some 70% of Clinton’s supporters say things have changed for the better.

Robert Jones, chief executive of PRRI, said: “This election has become a referendum on competing visions of America’s future. Donald Trump supporters are nostalgic for the 1950s, an era when white Christians in particular had more political and cultural power in the country, while Hillary Clinton supporters are leaning into – and even celebrating – the big cultural transformations the country has experienced over the last few decades.”

A majority (56%) of white Americans – including three in four (74%) of white evangelical Protestants – say American society has changed for the worse since the 1950s, while roughly six in 10 of black (62%) and Hispanic (57%) Americans say it has improved.

Critics have described Trump as an authoritarian figure who poses a fundamental threat to democracy. In a hint of what might have been possible if he had avoided numerous scandals and feuds during his campaign, the research found that 46% of people, including 55% of Republicans, believe the US needs a leader willing to break some rules in order to set things right.

There was a modest racial divide on the appeal of a strongman but a clear class divide. A majority (55%) of white working class Americans endorsed the idea whereas less than a third (29%) of those with college degrees agreed.

Jones told an audience at the Brookings Institution thinktank in Washington on Tuesday: “It fits very well with this portrait of Americans who see a very non-responsive political system to their situation. So when you feel parties aren’t attuned to you, government’s not attuned to you, nobody’s got your back, this kind of sentiment is, I think, what you get.

“If you get a strong leader who’s coming in to shake things up – someone who’s said, ‘I’m the guy. Only I can solve this problem’ – I think it’s appealing to this kind of sentiment. It’s people who feel like the system’s largely failed them. They don’t see any paths working within the current channels to change things.”

Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, added: “It gets to the importance of listening. When people feel excluded from the normal process of society, they will endorse extreme measures in order to ensure they get part of that society. There is a segment that we don’t often come into contact with except through data that very much feels that way and they find Trump’s authoritarian demeanour reassuring rather than frightening.”

Olsen argued it is incumbent on the election victors to listen to the views of people who think differently from them, comparing the situation with Brexit. “If the answer to our future is lean in without listening, we will eventually see a violent revolt that will shock everyone, in the way that [the leave vote] shocked Britain.”

People name terrorism as the most important issue and are closely divided on the benefits of free trade. Some 58% oppose building a wall along the Mexican border, while 41% are in favour.

Trump’s campaign was rocked earlier this month by the release of a 2005 video in which he boasted about sexually assaulting women. But the PRRI’s findings suggest its impact on the electorate might be less than supposed. Some 61% of people say an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life. This was a sharp increase from 44% in 2011.

U.S. Muslims Concerned About Their Place in Society, but Continue to Believe in the American Dream

Muslim Americans are a diverse and growing population, currently estimated at 3.45 million people of all ages, including 2.15 million adults (see below for an explanation of this estimate). The U.S. Muslim community is made up heavily of immigrants and the children of immigrants from around the world. On average, Muslim Americans are considerably younger than the overall U.S. population. 7

In their educational attainment levels, Muslims closely resemble the general public. About three-in-ten (31%) U.S. Muslims are college graduates, including 11% who have a postgraduate degree. On average, Muslim immigrants are more highly educated than U.S.-born Muslims.

Financially, Muslims are about as likely as Americans in general to have a household income over $100,000. At the same time, they are more likely than Americans in general to have an income under $30,000. The survey also finds that Muslims are three times as likely as other Americans to be without a job and looking for work.

The rest of this chapter provides a detailed examination of the demographic characteristics of the U.S. Muslim population.

Three-quarters of U.S. Muslims are immigrants or the children of immigrants

Nearly six-in-ten U.S. Muslims adults (58%) are first-generation Americans, having been born in another country. An additional 18% are second-generation Americans – people who were born in the U.S. and who have at least one parent who was an immigrant. About a quarter (24%) of U.S. Muslims are U.S. natives with U.S.-born parents (i.e., they are from families who have been in the U.S. for three generations or longer), which is the case for nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults overall (73%).

Among U.S. Muslim adults who were born abroad, more come from South Asia (35%) than any other region. An additional 23% were born in other parts of the Asia-Pacific region (such as Iran, Indonesia, etc.) 25% come from the Middle East-North Africa region, 9% come from sub-Saharan Africa, 4% were born in Europe and 4% come from elsewhere in the Americas.

No single country accounts for more than 15% of adult Muslim immigrants to the United States (15% are from Pakistan). 8 The countries with the next-highest totals are Iran (11% of Muslim immigrants), India (7%), Afghanistan (6%), Bangladesh (6%), Iraq (5%), Kuwait (3%), Syria (3%) and Egypt (3%).

The geographic origins of Muslim immigrants in the United States do not precisely mirror the global distribution of Muslims (though most U.S. Muslim immigrants are from Asia, which is also home to most of the world’s Muslims). For more details about the geographic distribution of the worldwide Muslim population, see Pew Research Center’s April 2017 report “The Changing Global Religious Landscape.”

Three-in-ten Muslim immigrants have arrived in the U.S. since 2010. An additional 26% arrived between 2000 and 2009, and roughly one-in-five (19%) Muslim immigrants arrived in the 1990s. One-in-ten immigrated in the 1980s, 6% arrived in the 1970s and just 2% of Muslim immigrants say they arrived in the U.S. before 1970.

The survey also finds that the vast majority of Muslims living in the U.S. (82%) are American citizens, including 42% who were born in the U.S. and 40% who were born abroad but who have naturalized. The remainder are not U.S. citizens (18%).

Looked at another way, 69% of all foreign-born U.S. Muslim adults have become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Muslim Americans are racially and ethnically diverse

No racial or ethnic group makes up a majority of Muslim American adults. A plurality (41%) are white, a category that includes those who describe their race as Arab, Middle Eastern, Persian/Iranian or in a variety of other ways (see sidebar on white racial classifications). About three-in-ten are Asian (28%), including those from South Asia, and one-fifth are black (20%). 9 Fewer are Hispanic (8%), and an additional 3% identify with another race or with multiple races.

Muslim immigrants are much more likely than U.S.-born Muslims to describe their race as Asian (41% vs. 10%). And U.S.-born Muslims are more likely than immigrant Muslims to be black (32% vs. 11%). In fact, fully half of Muslims whose families have been in the U.S. for at least three generations are black (51%).

Racial classifications and Muslim Americans

This survey uses the following set of racial and ethnic classifications: white, black, Asian, Hispanic, multiracial and other. These classifications are based largely on current Census Bureau categories, as is generally true of Pew Research Center work. However, it is sometimes difficult for respondents to select from the Census Bureau’s options. For example, immigrants and the children of immigrants from the Middle East-North Africa region and from Iran have no explicit option to identify as Arab, Persian, Kurdish, etc., or to identify with a particular place of origin (e.g., Egypt, Palestine, Morocco) in place of a racial category. In the census, respondents who specify a country or region of origin in the Middle East-North Africa region instead of a specific racial category generally are counted as white historically, the U.S. government has classified people as white if they have “origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa.” 10

This may soon change. In recent years, advocacy groups for Arab Americans and others have argued that being classified as white does not reflect the self identity of Americans from the Middle East or North Africa. 11 In response, the U.S. Census Bureau is considering a new “MENA” category for people from the Middle East and North Africa for possible use in the 2020 census and census surveys. 12

At present, however, Pew Research Center generally uses the census classifications because they allow comparisons with the general public both for statistical analysis and, in some cases, for weighting of survey data to achieve nationally representative samples. (For more detail on weighting procedures, see the Methodology.) In this survey, nearly nine-in-ten immigrants from the Middle East-North Africa region (87%) are counted as white, including those who volunteered their race as “Arab” or “Middle Eastern,” those who identified with a specific country instead of a race, and those who explicitly identified themselves as white. In total, U.S. Muslim respondents were more likely to be counted as white (41%) than any other listed race option.

The historic connections between Arabs and “whiteness,” in the American context, date to the early 20th century, when being white – or, more precisely, being classified as white by the U.S. government – was important for immigrants who wanted to become citizens. 13 Scholars of Arab American history highlight the significance of a 1915 U.S. appellate court ruling that granted citizenship to a Syrian man on the grounds that he was white. 14 The court decisions allowed many Arab immigrants from West Asia to avoid being racially classified as Asian, which would have hurt their chances at immigration or naturalization. 15

A closer look at U.S.-born black Muslims

American-born black Muslims stand out from other U.S. Muslims in several ways, according to the survey: Fully two-thirds are converts to Islam, compared with just one-in-seven among all other U.S. Muslims. And while they are about as likely as other Muslims to say they are proud to be American, U.S.-born black Muslims are less likely than other U.S.-born Muslims to say they have a lot in common with most Americans, and they are more likely than all other U.S. Muslims to say natural conflict exists between the teachings of Islam and democracy.

In addition, American-born black Muslims are more likely than other U.S. Muslims to say it has become harder in recent years to be Muslim in the United States. Nearly all American-born black Muslims (96%) say there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in America, almost identical to the share who say there is a lot of discrimination against black people in the U.S. (94%).

African American Muslims have long played a notable role in U.S. Muslim society. However, as immigrant populations from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Asia have grown, African American Muslims have decreased as a share of the U.S. Muslim population. 16 The new survey finds that American-born black people account for about 13% of the adult Muslim community. 17 And among Muslims whose families have been in the U.S. for at least three generations, fully half are black. Another 6% of all adult Muslims identify as black, but were born outside the U.S., generally in sub-Saharan Africa.

Perhaps the best-known group of black Muslims in the U.S. is the Nation of Islam, which at one point counted Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali as high-profile members. But in the Pew Research Center survey, just 3% of all U.S.-born black Muslims say they identify with the Nation of Islam. The vast majority of U.S.-born black Muslims say they are either Sunni Muslims (45%), or they identify with no particular Islamic denomination or they did not answer the question (43%).

Muslim American population is much younger than U.S. adults overall

The American Muslim adult population is considerably younger than the overall U.S. adult population. About a third (35%) of Muslim American adults are between 18 and 29 years old, which is a far higher percentage than the share of the general population that falls in that age bracket (21%).

Similarly, adults ages 18 to 39 make up 60% of the Muslim American adult population, compared with 38% of the U.S. adult population as a whole. Meanwhile, at the other end of the age spectrum, adults ages 55 and over make up just 14% of Muslim Americans, while people in this older age bracket comprise 36% of the overall U.S. adult population.

Another way to compare how old or young a group is within a broader population is to calculate its median age, which for Muslim adults in the U.S. is 35. In the U.S. population as a whole, the median age of adults is 47.

About half of Muslim Americans are married

Roughly half (53%) of Muslim adults in the U.S. are married. A third (33%) have never been married, while 8% are divorced or separated, 4% are unmarried but living with a partner, and 1% are widowed. Foreign-born Muslims are much more likely to be married than are Muslims who were born in the U.S. (70% vs. 29%).

The vast majority of U.S. Muslims who are married have a spouse who is also Muslim. For details, see here.

The share of Muslim American adults who are married is identical to the share of U.S. adults overall who are married (53%), even though Muslims are younger than the U.S. general public.

Muslim Americans have 2.4 children, on average

The survey results indicate that among adults ages 40 to 59, Muslim Americans report having an average of 2.4 children over the course of their lives. Americans overall average 2.1 children. 18 This is in line with previous Pew Research Center research suggesting that, worldwide, Muslims have higher fertility rates than any other major religious group.

Muslims have similar levels of education to Americans overall, but report lower incomes

About three-in-ten U.S. Muslims (31%) have college or postgraduate degrees, equivalent to the share among U.S. adults as a whole (31%). Foreign-born Muslims are more likely to have at least a college degree (38%) than are Muslims born in the U.S. (21%), perhaps reflecting immigration policies that give preference to highly educated immigrants.

Similarly, U.S. Muslims are about as likely as Americans overall to report household incomes of $100,000 or higher (24% of Muslims and 23% of Americans in general). But they also are more likely to be at the other end of the income scale: 40% of Muslim Americans report household incomes under $30,000, compared with 32% of the U.S. population as a whole. Muslims are also less likely than the general public to fall into the middle range, between $30,000 and $99,999 – 35% of Muslims report household income in this range, compared with 45% of all Americans.

The share of Muslims who report owning a home (37%) is considerably lower than among all U.S. adults (57%).

Fewer than half of Muslim adults say they are employed full time (44%). Overall, 29% of Muslims are underemployed, in that they are either employed part time but would prefer full-time work (10%), or they are not employed but they are looking for work (18%). By comparison, 12% of U.S. adults overall are underemployed in these ways, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey.

Still, Muslims are about as satisfied with their finances as are U.S. adults as whole. Asked to rate their personal financial situation, 43% of Muslims say they are in either “good” or “excellent” financial shape, while 56% say they are in “only fair” or “poor” shape financially. Among the general public, 46% rate their financial situation as good or excellent, while 53% say it is only fair or poor.

Most Muslims live in households with other people who are all Muslim

The most common living situation among Muslim Americans – especially immigrants – is a multi-person household in which everyone is Muslim. More than half of Muslims (57%) live this way. An additional 18% of Muslims live in a home with non-Muslims (such as a non-Muslim spouse), while 23% live alone.

Half of Muslim Americans live in a household with minor children, and usually those children are Muslim. But 6% of all U.S. Muslims live in households with children who are not Muslim.

How many Muslims are there in the United States? And how do we know?

There are no U.S. government statistics on the number of Muslim Americans. For that matter, there are no official figures on the size of any religious group in the U.S., because the Census Bureau does not collect information on the religious identification of residents. With surveys like this one, however, demographers can calculate a rough estimate of the number of Muslims who currently reside in the country.

Based on these calculations, Pew Research Center estimates that there are currently 3.45 million Muslims in the U.S., including 2.15 million adults and 1.35 million children. Muslims account for roughly 1.1% of the total U.S. population (including both adults and children), as well as approximately 0.9% of the U.S. adult population. 19

Negative experiences remained at record highs

Worldwide, negative experiences were just as widespread last year as in 2017, which was the darkest year for humanity in more than a decade, according to Gallup. While stress declined globally, anger increased. Worry and sadness reached new heights, and feelings of physical pain were unchanged.

For the first time, Chad topped the list as the country with the highest response of negative experiences in the world.

“The country’s overall score at least partly reflects the violence, displacement and the collapse of basic services in parts of Chad that have affected thousands of families,” Gallup said in the report.

Additional countries that led the world in negative experiences included other African nations, like Niger and Sierra Leone, and some in the Middle East, such as Iraq and Iran.

Nations in Latin America once again led the list of countries where positive experiences were highest, despite the fact that some of the countries that topped the list, like El Salvador and Honduras, are home to some of the world’s highest murder rates.

Survey Methods

The 2020 results are based on combined data from telephone interviews conducted March 13-22, 2020, and April 1-14, 2020. The combined data represent a random sample of 2,027 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Why the poor should be voting more

Some people argue that the lower income groups are the ones who need the most help from government, while others feel that they aren't politically savvy enough to take on the responsibility.

When the Electoral College was created in 1789, some feared that the uneducated, agrarian masses could not be trusted to elect a qualified leader, and wanted Congress to choose the president instead. The Electoral College was created as a compromise between the two options.

"Lower income people tend to be less politically informed, so people have long argued that maybe it's just as well that they don't vote," said Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University.

"But to the extent that the government is supposed to represent people equally, then it is a problem that low income people aren't as represented," Gelman added.

Widening income inequality and high unemployment since the recession have put more economic pressure on the lower income groups. Workers with just a high school degree have an 8.8% unemployment rate. For workers with a bachelors degree or higher, only 4.1% are out of work.

Those who do vote the most -- the rich -- tend to vote Republican in most elections, Gelman said.

But in 2008, a small segment of that group bucked the broader trend.

Exit polls conducted for CNN show that, in addition to winning the majority of voters earning under $100,000 a year, Obama also won over the majority of the rich -- those earning $200,000 a year or more.

"Obama had a lot of appeal to richer voters. He was very well educated, he had an urbane style, a lot of his supporters were from the high-tech and financial industries," Gelman said. "McCain really had less of that, and as a candidate, he and Sarah Palin, had an anti-elitist message which made them less appealing to rich people."

Those roles haves shifted dramatically in the 2012 election, with Obama now promoting a far more populist agenda and Republican candidate Mitt Romney catering to upper income voters.

A Gallup poll conducted last week shows the richest tier of voters are again supporting a Republican ticket. Those with a household income of $120,000 or more are leaning in favor of Romney, whereas households earning less than $48,000 are leaning toward Obama.

The middle class, however, is still up for grabs. It's no wonder then that both candidates are focusing so heavily on trying to win over middle-class voters.

A new CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 55% of blacks and 52% of Hispanics said it was easier for them to achieve the American Dream than their parents. That's compared to only 35% of whites. Blacks and Hispanics interviewed by CNNMoney said they feel they have more opportunity these days in terms of education and jobs.

But for the typical black and Hispanic household, those opportunities haven't translated into financial gains. Even earning a college degree hasn't protected them from falling behind. In fact, the CNN/Kaiser poll found that blacks and Hispanics with college degrees are not significantly more satisfied with their financial situation compared to their peers without degrees. But whites with college degrees are generally more satisfied than their counterparts with less formal education.

Here are five ways blacks and Hispanics trail whites economically.

Blacks and Hispanics still typically earn far less than whites, in part because whites dominate higher-paying fields, such as technology and finance. The income gap has held fairly steady for the past 40 years.

When it comes to wealth, the difference is staggering. Whites have roughly 10 times the wealth of blacks and Hispanics.

Over the past 25 years, the wealth gap between blacks and whites has nearly tripled, according to research by Brandeis University.

That's mainly due to differences in home ownership rates. Most Americans' net worth is tied up in their homes, but blacks and Hispanics are much less likely to own the roof over their heads.

Unemployment in the black and Hispanic communities is also a big issue. The jobless rate has historically been much higher for blacks and Hispanics, which contributes to their having lower income and wealth levels.

Once unemployed, it takes blacks five weeks longer to land a job than whites, on average. (Hispanics, on the other hand, find new positions two weeks sooner than whites.)

All these factors contribute to higher poverty rates among blacks and Hispanics. More than one in four black Americans are in poverty, and nearly that many Hispanics are.

The numbers are even starker when looking at child poverty rates. Just under 11% of white children were in poverty in 2013, but 38% of black children and 30% of Hispanic children are poor.

The CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation poll was conducted August 25 through October 3, 2015, among a random national sample of 1,951 adults, including 501 Black and 500 Hispanic respondents. Results for all groups have been adjusted to reflect their actual national distribution. Interviews were conducted on conventional telephones and cellphones, in English and Spanish, by SSRS of Media, Pennsylvania. This poll was jointly developed and analyzed by CNN and staff at the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for results based on African Americans or Hispanics it is plus or minus 6 percentage points. Read more about the poll.

What's your American Dream? Take a picture for Instagram or send a tweet @CNNMoney using hashtag #MyAmericanDream

A third of U.S. adults skeptical of COVID shots, poll finds

Penny Cracas, with the Chester County, Pa., Health Department, filled a syringe with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Dec. 29, before administering it to emergency medical workers and healthcare personnel at the Chester County Government Services Center in West Chester, Pa.

NEW YORK >> About 1 in 3 Americans say they definitely or probably won&rsquot get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new poll that some experts say is discouraging news if the U.S. hopes to achieve herd immunity and vanquish the outbreak.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that while 67% of Americans plan to get vaccinated or have already done so, 15% are certain they won&rsquot and 17% say probably not. Many expressed doubts about the vaccine&rsquos safety and effectiveness.

The poll suggests that substantial skepticism persists more than a month and a half into a U.S. vaccination drive that has encountered few if any serious side effects. Resistance was found to run higher among younger people, people without college degrees, Black Americans and Republicans.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government&rsquos leading infectious-disease scientist, has estimated that somewhere between 70% and 85% of the U.S. population needs to get inoculated to stop the scourge that has killed close to 470,000 Americans. More recently, he said the spread of more contagious variants of the virus increases the need for more people to get their shots &mdash and quickly.

So is 67% of Americans enough?

&ldquoNo. No, no, no, no,&rdquo said William Hanage, a Harvard University expert on disease dynamics. He added: &ldquoYou&rsquore going to need to get quite large proportions of the population vaccinated before you see a real effect.&rdquo

Nearly 33 million Americans, or about 10% of the population, have received at least one dose, and 9.8 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

The poll of 1,055 adults, taken Jan. 28 through Feb. 1, provides insight into the skepticism.

Of those who said they definitely will not get the vaccine, 65% cited worries about side effects, despite the shots&rsquo safety record over the past months. About the same percentage said they don&rsquot trust COVID-19 vaccines. And 38% said they don&rsquot believe they need a vaccine, with a similar share saying that they don&rsquot know if a COVID-19 vaccine will work and that they don&rsquot trust the government.

Of those who probably will not get the vaccine but have not ruled it out completely, 63% said they are waiting to see if it is safe, and 60% said they are concerned about possible side effects.

&ldquoI don&rsquot trust pharmaceuticals. I really don&rsquot. And it doesn&rsquot sound like it&rsquos going to be safe,&rdquo said Debra Nanez, a 67-year-old retired nurse from Tucson, Arizona.

Nanez said she has gotten flu and pneumonia shots but is concerned about rumors about what&rsquos in the coronavirus vaccine, and her friends have the same hesitation.

&ldquoIt would take a while for me to do research on it to make sure it&rsquos safe. I just don&rsquot want to take anything that&rsquos going to harm me,&rdquo she said.

Baron Walker, a 42-year-old laid-off insulation installer from Parkersburg, West Virginia, said he is in the &ldquoprobably not&rdquo column, at least for now.

He said that if he were elderly, or lived in a densely populated area, he might consider the vaccine more strongly. But he is in rural part of the country, he has been wearing a mask and social-distancing, and he feels there is a good chance the nation will achieve herd immunity, he said.

&ldquoI feel like I have plenty of time before I get a chance to get (the vaccine) anyway, to find out if there are bad side effects and whether it&rsquos even worth getting it,&rdquo Walker said.

In interviews, some Americans expressed concerns about the revolutionary speed with which the vaccines were developed &mdash less than a year.

&ldquoI feel like they rushed it,&rdquo Walker said.

That was echoed by Matt Helderman, 31, of Greer, South Carolina.

&ldquoI&rsquod like to see more safety data,&rdquo said Helderman, a video editor and associate producer for a Christian TV program. He also said that he would like to see more clarity on whether the vaccine is effective against new variants.

Health officials are trying to counter concerns about the vaccine with science.

The latest evidence indicates that the two vaccines being used in the U.S. &mdash Pfizer&rsquos and Moderna&rsquos &mdash are effective even against the variants, Fauci said.

Also, while the development of the vaccines was unusually fast, it was the culmination of many years of research. And the vaccines went through clinical trials involving thousands of people who were monitored for 60 days after their last dose. Studies of other vaccines have found that harmful side effects almost always materialize within 45 days.

&ldquoSafety certainly was not compromised, nor was scientific integrity compromised,&rdquo Fauci said. &ldquoMany have reason for skepticism. But I think that when you explain the facts and the data to them, you can win them over.&rdquo

The survey found that older Americans, who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, are especially likely to say they have received a shot or will probably or definitely get vaccinated. Four in 10 of those under 45 say they will probably or definitely not get a vaccine, compared with a quarter of those older.

Black Americans appear less likely than white Americans to say they have received the shot or will definitely or probably get vaccinated, 57% versus 68%. Among Hispanic Americans, 65% say they have gotten or plan to get the vaccine.

Public health experts have long known that some Black Americans are distrustful of the medical establishment because of its history of abuses, including the infamous Tuskegee study, in which Black patients with syphilis were left untreated so that doctors could study the disease.

Americans without a college degree are more likely than college-educated ones to say they will definitely or probably not get vaccinated, 40% versus 17%. And Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say that, 44% versus 17%.

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Happiness Index: Only 1 In 3 Americans Are Very Happy, According To Harris Poll

The online poll of 2,345 U.S. adults, conducted last month, used a series of questions to determine Americans' levels of contentment and life satisfaction. Overall, just 33 percent of Americans said that they were very happy, remaining consistent with happiness levels in 2011 but dropping from the 35 percent who reported being very happy in 2008 and 2009.

“Our happiness index offers insight into what’s on the minds of Americans today and is a reflection of the state of affairs in our country,” Regina Corso, Senior Vice President of the Harris Poll, said in a statement. “While the attitudes on the economy may be improving, we’re seeing that this is not translating into an improvement in overall happiness. For certain groups, such as minorities, recent graduates and the disabled, they are actually sub-segments of the American population where ‘happiness’ has trended downward in the last couple years.”

Economic conditions might play a role in declining happiness levels (and increasing stress levels) among recent college graduates and the Millennial generation more generally. Rising college tuition costs, mounting student loan debt, and high levels of unemployment and underemployment have all contributed to Generation Y being labeled America's "Most Stressed Generation." In fact, according to the recent Stress in America survey, young people report significantly higher stress levels than their older counterparts.

And just as stress levels generally decrease with age, happiness levels increase with age over the long term. The poll showed that Americans over the age of 50 are more likely to be very happy (36 of those ages 50-64, and 41 percent of adults ages 65+) than young people (31 percent of ages 18-24, 30 percent of ages 25-29, and 28 percent of ages 30-39).

The findings are in line with a body of research, recently reported in The Economist, which has shown a "U-curve" of happiness based on age. By this model, happiness levels are fairly high during youth, dip during the 40s , and increase again in the mid-50s, peaking late in life. Stress levels also peak in the early 20s (when happiness levels are declining) and then sharply decrease, according to The Economist.

For all ages, however, the survey reflected a general decline in optimism levels among Americans, with only 67 percent of respondents saying that they were optimistic about the future, as compared to 75 percent in 2011. Optimism levels in the U.S. are significantly below the global average -- 89 percent of citizens internationally feel that the future will be as good or better than their present situation, according to a recent Gallup World Poll.

But on the bright side, other research has found that Americans are less likely than ever before to view wealth as a necessary ingredient to a happy life. Only around one in four Americans still believes that wealth determines success, according to the recent LifeTwist study. The survey's authors noted, "Americans are increasingly placing greater priority on living a fulfilling life –- in which being wealthy is not the most significant factor."

This change in attitude may be in part a reaction to the impacts of the recession, as financial and personal hardships can actually be a catalyst for greater happiness and well-being. While 43 percent of Americans surveyed in the LifeTwist Study said that they've experienced a financial setback, more than 50 percent said that such experiences have helped them realize what's truly important, and 42 percent say that the obstacle has opened their eyes to new experiences.

Social Media Use in 2018

For the latest survey data on social media and messaging app, see Social Media Use in 2021.

A new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults finds that the social media landscape in early 2018 is defined by a mix of long-standing trends and newly emerging narratives.

Facebook and YouTube dominate this landscape, as notable majorities of U.S. adults use each of these sites. At the same time, younger Americans (especially those ages 18 to 24) stand out for embracing a variety of platforms and using them frequently. Some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users.

As has been the case since the Center began surveying about the use of different social media in 2012, Facebook remains the primary platform for most Americans. Roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) now report that they are Facebook users, and roughly three-quarters of those users access Facebook on a daily basis. With the exception of those 65 and older, a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook.

But the social media story extends well beyond Facebook. The video-sharing site YouTube – which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform – is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds. And the typical (median) American reports that they use three of the eight major platforms that the Center measured in this survey.

These findings also highlight the public’s sometimes conflicting attitudes toward social media. For example, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points compared with a survey conducted in early 2014. But by the same token, a majority of users (59%) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites, including 29% who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.

Different social media platforms show varied growth

Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform by a relatively healthy margin: some 68% of U.S. adults are now Facebook users. Other than the video-sharing platform YouTube, none of the other sites or apps measured in this survey are used by more than 40% of Americans.

The Center has asked about the use of five of these platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest) in several previous surveys of technology use. And for the most part, the share of Americans who use each of these services is similar to what the Center found in its previous survey of social media use conducted in April 2016. The most notable exception is Instagram: 35% of U.S. adults now say they use this platform, an increase of seven percentage points from the 28% who said they did in 2016.

The youngest adults stand out in their social media consumption

As was true in previous Pew Research Center surveys of social media use, there are substantial differences in social media use by age. Some 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds indicate that they use any form of social media. That share falls to 78% among those ages 30 to 49, to 64% among those ages 50 to 64 and to 37% among Americans 65 and older.

At the same time, there are pronounced differences in the use of various social media platforms within the young adult population as well. Americans ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely to use platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter even when compared with those in their mid- to late-20s. These differences are especially notable when it comes to Snapchat: 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds are Snapchat users, but that share falls to 54% among those ages 25 to 29.

With the exception of those 65 and older, Facebook is used by a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups. But other platforms appeal more strongly to certain subsets of the population. In addition to the age-related differences in the use of sites such as Instagram and Snapchat noted above, these are some of the more prominent examples:

  • Pinterest remains substantially more popular with women (41% of whom say they use the site) than with men (16%).
  • LinkedIn remains especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Some 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less.
  • The messaging service WhatsApp is popular in Latin America, and this popularity also extends to Latinos in the United States – 49% of Hispanics report that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14% of whites and 21% of blacks.

For more details on social media platform use by different demographic groups, see Appendix A.

Roughly three-quarters of Facebook users ­– and around six-in-ten Snapchat and Instagram users – visit each site daily

Along with being the most popular social media site, Facebook users also visit the site with high levels of frequency. Fully 74% of Facebook users say they visit the site daily, with around half (51%) saying they do several times a day. The share of Facebook users who visit the site on a daily basis is statistically unchanged compared with 2016, when 76% of Facebook users reported they visited the site daily.

While the overall share of Americans who use Snapchat is smaller than that of Facebook, a similar share of Snapchat users (49%) say they use the platform multiple times per day. All told, a majority of Snapchat (63%) and Instagram (60%) users indicate that they visit these platforms on a daily basis. The share of Instagram users who visit the platform daily has increased slightly since 2016 when 51% of Instagram users were daily visitors. (Note: this is the first year the Center has specifically asked about the frequency of Snapchat use in a telephone poll.)

In addition to adopting Snapchat and Instagram at high rates, the youngest adults also stand out in the frequency with which they use these two platforms. Some 82% of Snapchat users ages 18 to 24 say they use the platform daily, with 71% indicating that they use it multiple times per day. Similarly, 81% of Instagram users in this age group visit the platform on daily basis, with 55% reporting that they do so several times per day.

The median American uses three of these eight social platforms

As was true in previous surveys of social media use, there is a substantial amount of overlap between users of the various sites measured in this survey. Most notably, a significant majority of users of each of these social platforms also indicate that they use Facebook and YouTube. But this “reciprocity” extends to other sites as well. For instance, roughly three-quarters of both Twitter (73%) and Snapchat (77%) users also indicate that they use Instagram.

This overlap is broadly indicative of the fact that many Americans use multiple social platforms. Roughly three-quarters of the public (73%) uses more than one of the eight platforms measured in this survey, and the typical (median) American uses three of these sites. As might be expected, younger adults tend to use a greater variety of social media platforms. The median 18- to 29-year-old uses four of these platforms, but that figure drops to three among 30- to 49-year-olds, to two among 50- to 64-year-olds and to one among those 65 and older.

A majority of social media users say it would not be difficult to give up these sites

Even as a majority of Americans now use social platforms of various kinds, a relatively large share of these users feel that they could give up social media without much difficulty.

Some 59% of social media users think it would not be hard to give up social media, with 29% indicating it would not be hard at all. By contrast, 40% say they would indeed find it hard to give up social media – although just 14% think it would be “very hard” to do this. At the same time, the share of social media users who would find it hard to give up these services has grown somewhat in recent years. The Center asked an identical question in a survey conducted in January 2014, and at that time, 28% of social media users indicated they would have a hard time giving up social media, including 11% who said it would be “very hard.”

These findings vary by age. Roughly half of social media users ages 18 to 24 (51%) say it would be hard to give up social media, but just one-third of users ages 50 and older feel similarly. The data also fit broadly with other findings the Center has collected about Americans’ attitudes toward social media. Despite using them for a wide range of reasons, just 3% of social media users indicate that they have a lot of trust in the information they find on these sites. And relatively few have confidence in these platforms to keep their personal information safe from bad actors.