Have, Have-not, Or Having None Of It

As if there weren’t enough dividing

lines among Americans, they’re even divided on the question of whether they’re divided. A Gallup poll asked adults whether they think American society is divided into two groups—the haves and the have-nots. Answers varied sharply by ethnicity, with 42 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 67 percent of blacks and 31 percent of Hispanics agreeing that there is such a clear division. As the chart below indicates, the ethnicity gap played itself out differently when Gallup prodded respondents to put themselves in one class or the other. (People who disavow the have-vs.-have-not schema presumably don’t feel they belong in either class.) As Gallup says in its analysis of the data, blacks and Hispanics may be more likely to classify themselves as have-nots “because they report a greater amount of worry about meeting their family’s expenses and bills than do whites, even though a majority of all three racial groups say they only worry about this some of the time or almost never.” Twenty-seven percent of non-Hispanic whites said they worry about this all or most of the time, as did 42 percent of blacks and 38 percent of Hispanics.