Immigration and racism have been ousted as the greatest source of tension in US society. A December survey by the Pew Research Center found that two-thirds of Americans believe that there are "strong conflicts" between the rich and poor in the US, outpacing immigration (62%) and race (38%). Age (strong conflicts between young and old) garnered 34%.
The Americans who believe there are strong conflicts between rich and poor is the highest reported since 1992. Even worse, it's 50% higher than in the 2009 survey. While more blacks than whites agreed with the statement, the percentage of whites agreeing soared from 43% in 2009 to 65% in December 2011.
The belief permeated age groups and political parties. The increase by age group ranged between 16 percentage points (to 64% amongst 35-49 year olds) to 22 percentage points (to 57% of 50-64 year olds). Seven out of ten 18-34 year olds agreed; 55% of Americans 65 or older thought so.
While more Democrats than Republicans agreed that class is an issue (73% and 55%, respectively), the increase was nearly identical: an 18 percentage point increase amongst Democrats compared to 17 points amongst Republicans. The percentage of Independents citing class climbed by a third, to 68%.
The following graph suggests why...
For more information, see: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/12/us/tensions-between-rich-and-poor.html?ref=us