Strong Majority Of Americans Believe Country Would Be Better Off With Less Income Inequality

As the Occupy Wall Street protests continue — and the U.S. grapples with its worst level of income inequality since the 1920s — a new survey shows that a strong majority of Americans believe that the country would be in better shape with a more equitable division of wealth. According to a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, 60 percent of Americans believe that the country “would be better off if the distribution of wealth was more equal.” Big majorities also approve of raising taxes on millionaires and increasing the minimum wage to $10 per hour. Here are some of the poll’s major findings:

A strong majority (60 percent) of Americans agree that the country would be better off if the distribution of wealth was more equal, while 39 percent disagree.

Seven in 10 (70 percent) Americans favor “the Buffett rule,” a proposal to increase the tax rate on Americans earning more than $1 million per year, compared to only 27 percent who oppose it.

— Overall, two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans favor increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour. Support for raising the minimum wage has remained stable since 2010.


Even a majority of Republicans agree with the Buffett rule, aimed at ensuring that millionaires can’t pay a lower tax rate than middle-class households. The PRRI’s findings are in line with a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 65 percent of Americans say that the government should pursue policies that “try to reduce the gap between wealthy and less well-off Americans.”