Most Americans Wish U.S. was Like Sweden

Friday, September 24, 2010
Americans really want to live like they’re in Sweden, even if they don’t realize it.
Researchers from Harvard and Duke Universities surveyed a group of Americans on the subject of income inequality and found people’s preferred model of wealth distribution was that of the Swedes—after being given the choice of sticking with what the United States has to offer these days.
When shown the wealth distribution of the U.S. and Sweden’s (without labels), 92% of respondents chose the Swedish one.
The research also revealed that Americans “vastly underestimated the actual level of wealth inequality in the United States,” believing that the wealthiest 20% of the population currently controls about 59% of the wealth, when the actual number is closer to 84%.
When asked how much of the country’s wealth the richest 20% should hold, respondents said no more than 32%.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Building a Better America – One Wealth Quintile at a Time (by Michael I. Norton, Harvard Business School, and Dan Ariely, Duke University) (pdf)


Wes 13 years ago
Wow, I knew it was bad but never guessed that it was that bad. We're well on the way to third world status. When the bottom 40% only controls less than 1% of the wealth, it's appalling.

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