NPR
                Online

NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School Poll

Poverty in America

As shown, some questions were asked only of subsets of respondents (e.g., people who said they knew about the new welfare law). The tables identify whether the results reflect percentages of the overall population or percentages of a subset. In some cases results for particular income-level subgroups are not shown because there were too few respondents on which to report. Some demographic questions are not shown, but all questions are presented in the order in which they were asked. An asterisk (*) indicates a response of less than 1%.

Return to the Summary or skip to a section:

I. General Background | II. Why Are People Poor? | III. Perceptions of Poor People | IV. The Government's Role | V. Perceptions of Welfare and Welfare Recipients | VI. Perceptions of the New Welfare Law | VII. Personal Experience with Economic Problems | VIII. Demographics


II.  Why Are People Poor?

7. In your opinion, which is the bigger cause of poverty today - that people are not doing enough to help themselves out of poverty, or that circumstances beyond their control cause them to be poor?
(Results for total respondents)



 

People not doing enough

Circumstances

Donít know

Total

48

45

7

<100%

39

57

52

100-200%

44

46

10

200%+

50

44

6

8. Now I have some more-detailed questions about poverty in America. Not everyone will have heard about all the issues I'm asking about. Please answer each question to the best of your knowledge, but if you're not sure about an answer, just say so.

For each of the following, please tell me if this is a major cause of poverty, a minor cause of poverty, or not a cause at all. Is (ITEM) a major cause of poverty, a minor cause of poverty, or not a cause at all?


(Results for total respondents)

Drug abuse



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

70

24

5

2

<100%

74

14

11

1

100-200%

76

18

3

2

200%+

68

26

4

2

Medical bills



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

58

32

7

2

<100%

71

21

6

2

100-200%

68

23

7

2

200%+

54

35

8

3

Too many jobs being part time or low wage



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

54

32

10

4

<100%

70

20

7

3

100-200%

61

25

9

5

200%+

50

36

11

3

Too many single-parent families



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

54

32

12

2

<100%

64

22

10

4

100-200%

59

27

10

3

200%+

52

35

12

1

A shortage of jobs



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

34

41

23

2

<100%

62

26

11

1

100-200%

47

34

17

2

200%+

27

45

26

2

The welfare system



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

46

37

11

7

<100%

46

36

10

7

100-200%

44

33

11

11

200%+

47

37

11

5

Too many immigrants



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

30

40

26

4

<100%

42

32

21

5

100-200%

38

33

22

7

200%+

27

42

28

3

Poor people lacking motivation



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

52

35

9

4

<100%

55

34

8

3

100-200%

56

33

6

5

200%+

51

35

10

4

Decline in moral values



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

57

29

12

3

<100%

57

29

10

4

100-200%

59

25

12

4

200%+

56

30

12

2

Poor quality of public schools



 

Major

Minor

Not a cause

Donít know

Total

47

36

13

4

<100%

45

36

13

6

100-200%

47

30

16

8

200%+

47

38

12

3

9. You mentioned (ITEMS) as major causes.  Which one would you say is the most important cause?
(Results for total respondents who mentioned more than one cause as major)



8/9 Most Important Cause Summary

 

Total

<100%

100-200%

200%+

Drug abuse

13

22

12

11

Medical bills

6

10

9

5

Too many jobs being part time or low wage

13

17

13

12

Too many single-parent families

8

6

8

7

A shortage of jobs

6

10

7

5

The welfare system

6

3

5

6

Too many immigrants

4

5

5

4

Poor people lacking motivation

11

8

10

12

Decline in moral values

13

6

13

14

Poor quality of public schools

16

9

12

17

None of these

1

1

2

1

Donít know

3

2

4

3

No item a major cause

2

*

1

2



View Previous Page View Next Page


 
Methodology

The results of this project are based on a nationwide telephone survey conducted in English and Spanish between January 4 and February 27, 2001, among a random representative sample of 1,952 respondents 18 years of age and older. There was an oversample of 546 respondents who were identified as having an income of less than 200% of the federal poverty level. Overall the sample included 294 respondents having an income of less than 100% of the federal poverty level, 613 having an income of between 100% and 200% of the federal poverty level, and 1,045 with an income above 200% of the federal poverty level. The results for all groups are weighted to reflect the actual distribution in the nation. The field work was conducted by ICR/International Communications Research. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points for total respondents, plus or minus 7.5 percentage points for those with an income of less than 100% of the federal poverty level, plus or minus 5.4 percentage points for those with an income of between 100% and 200% of the federal poverty level, and plus or minus 2.6 percentage points for those with an income above 200% of the federal poverty level. For results based on subsets of respondents the margin of error is higher.

When interpreting the data, keep in mind that because this was a telephone survey, it under-represents groups less likely to have telephones, such as people with very low incomes.

 





This page and all contents are Copyright © 2001 by National Public Radio, Washington, D.C.