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5 takeaways from PRRI's 2021 American Values Survey

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Unsplash/Pepi Stojanovski

1. Economic anxiety looms large across all demographic groups

The American Values Atlas found that 65% of Americans agree with a statement asserting that “the economic issues facing the country are primarily a result of long-term problems,” while 32% of Americans believe that “the economic issues facing the country are primarily a result of hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”

The belief that the United States faces longterm economic problems cuts across differences in partisan affiliation and ethnicity.

Sixty-nine percent of independents agree with the former statement, along with 68% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans. Fifty-eight percent of Hispanic Americans, 64% of black Americans, 67% of white Americans, 68% of Americans belonging to other racial groups and 73% of multiracial Americans believe that longterm problems plague the U.S. economy.

Additionally, 80% of Americans agree with a statement declaring that “the costs of housing and everyday expenses are rising faster than my income.” Respondents were asked if they had concerns about their ability to pay for the essential goods used in daily life, their rent or mortgage, credit card bills and/or student loan payments. Fifty-five percent of respondents expressed concerns about their ability to pay for at least two of the four expenses. 

Concern about the ability to pay for at least two of the four most common expenses was shared by majorities of Democrats (55%), independents (56%) and Republicans (51%). While a majority of Americans overall (54%) now believe that a college education is “more of a risky investment that may not pay off” as opposed to a “smart investment,” perception of the value of a college education differs based on race and party identification. 

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats believe that a college education is a wise investment. That view drops significantly among independents (42%) and Republicans (37%). Majorities of Americans of other races (58%) and Hispanics (54%) see a college education as an intelligent investment, while just 48% of black Americans and 41% of white Americans say the same. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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