Almost two-thirds of Americans believe that children of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have an equal opportunity to succeed, but only 51 percent of those with a four-year college degree say the same, according to the latest College Board/National Journal Next America Poll.
Among whites with a college degree, 52 percent say there is equal opportunity for all children to succeed. In contrast, a full 70 percent of whites without a college degree say the playing field is level. This gap appears among nonwhites, too: About half of nonwhites with a four-year college degree say there is equal opportunity for all children to succeed, compared with 63 percent of nonwhites without a degree.
Americans with incomes greater than $75,000 — who tend to be college graduates — also are less likely than those with incomes under $30,000 a year to say that children of all races and ethnicities have an equal opportunity to succeed, 55 percent to 70 percent, respectively. Sixty-three percent of Americans with yearly incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 said opportunities are equal.
Personal experience may be one explanation for skepticism about equality of opportunity. Those with college degrees and above-average incomes — those who have succeeded — may have a clearer understanding of the impediments they faced and the advantages they enjoyed. Research shows there are many of both: 40 percent of American children born to parents in the top fifth of income remain in the top fifth as adults; 43 percent of children born to the bottom fifth of income remain in the bottom fifth.
The College Board/National Journal Next America Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, surveyed 1,272 adults ages 18 and older from Oct. 14-24, in English and Spanish, through landlines and cell phones. It includes oversamples of 245 African-Americans, 229 Hispanics, and 107 Asian-Americans; the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points for the overall sample, with larger error margins for the subgroups. The poll is one component of National Journal’s Next America project, which examines how evolving demography is changing the national agenda.
Last in a five-part series. Click here to download the topline results from the poll and access in your download folder.
The Odds vs. Realities of the American Dream
Hispanics are the most ardent believers despite the many challenges they face in overcoming gaps in income and education, a poll shows.
More in U.S. Warm to the New Melting Pot
While most people accept immigrants for their willingness to take jobs Americans snub, the question of immigrants’ cultural impact still shows a divide across racial, educational, generational, and partisan lines.
Skillfully Climbing the Ladder
When it comes to education or skills training, blacks and Hispanics are most likely to believe that more learning will boost their careers and livelihoods.
Egalitarian College Hopes, to a Degree
62 percent believe money and influence give an edge to attending a top school, though more Asians and Hispanics believe they have a fair shot at one.
What We're Following See More »
Following their meeting, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, briefly addressed the media, with Peña Nieto subtly rebuking Trump's rhetoric. While he spoke respectfully about Trump, Peña Nieto did not back down, saying that free trade has proved effective and that illegal immigration into America from the south has decreased over the last ten years while the flow of people and drugs into Mexico has increased. Additionally, he stressed that Mexicans in America are "honest" and "deserve respect." Trump responded, calling some Mexicans "tremendous people" while saying others are "beyond reproach." Trump laid out five important issues, including the end of illegal immigration and the ability for either country to build a wall or border. However, Trump said he did not discuss who would pay for the wall.
A divided Supreme Court "refused Wednesday to reinstate North Carolina’s voter identification requirement and keep just 10 days of early in-person voting. The court rejected a request by Gov. Pat McCrory and other state officials to delay a lower court ruling that found the state law was tainted by racial discrimination."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.