A collaborative analysis by the AP-NORC Center and the GSS staff using the 2014 General Social Survey illustrates that public opinion remains divided on government policies addressing inequality.
Just under half of all Americans believe the government should reduce income differences, and the level of support for government reducing inequality has remained relatively stable for the last three decades.
The GSS is administered by NORC at the University of Chicago, primarily using in-person interviewing. The GSS started in 1972 and completed its 30th round in 2014. For the last 40 years, the GSS has been monitoring societal change and the growing complexity of American society. The GSS is the largest project funded by the Sociology Program of the National Science Foundation. The typical sample size was 1,500 prior to 1994, but increased to 2,700-3,000 until 2008 and decreased to 2,000-2,500 for the most recent surveys. Resulting margins of error are between +/- 3.1 for the smaller sample sizes and +/- 2.2 percentage points for the larger sample sizes at the 95 percent confidence level. The GSS 1972-2014 Cumulative File was utilized to produce the statistics presented.
Three Things You Should Know
From the 2014 GSS
Among American Adults
- There is no clear majority when it comes to government’s role in reducing income disparities with 46 percent supporting and 37 percent opposing government action.
- Democrats and independents are twice as likely as Republicans to report the government should reduce income differences.
- Younger Americans are more supportive of the government reducing inequality than older Americans.