In asking people in 44 countries which of these they owned, we found notable differences between economically advanced nations, emerging markets and developing countries.
Trends in public opinion are in line with Obama’s agenda: The priority given to deficit reduction has slipped somewhat, while public support for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure has increased.
The share of Americans who live in middle-income households has held steady since 2010 – a flat trend that might actually be good news.
Income inequality will be a key topic of discussion for economic leaders meeting in Davos. Pew Research Center surveys also have shown that income inequality is a global cause for concern.
The gap between America’s upper-income and middle-income families has reached its highest level on record. In 2013, the median wealth of the nation’s upper-income families ($639,400) was nearly seven times the median wealth of middle-income families ($96,500).
Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen addressed the issue of inequality in a speech last week, an issue on which there is a sharp partisan divide.
As they continue to struggle with the effects of the Great Recession, most people in advanced economies are pessimistic about the financial prospects of the next generation. In contrast, emerging and developing nations are more optimistic that the next generation will have a higher standard of living.
The nation’s aggregate wealth continues to show signs of recovery, but that wealth recovery has been concentrated on the wealthiest Americans. Meanwhile, the aggregate net worth for America’s economic middle is actually declining.
Black men in their prime working years, especially those without a high school education, are much more likely to be in jail than white men are.
While most manufactured goods are considerably cheaper than they were three decades ago, many key services are much more expensive -- contributing to the paradox of greater material abundance among even poor Americans.