Californians Are Fed Up With Income Inequality, Poll Shows

07/02/2014 04:02 pm ET | Updated Jul 02, 2014

A majority of Californians are concerned by the state’s wealth gap, a Field Poll released Wednesday found, but they remain divided on potential solutions.

In a survey of 1,020 adult Californians, 54 percent reported being dissatisfied with the state’s distribution of wealth and income, while 38 percent were satisfied. Similar proportions of Democrats and Republicans held these views, with wealth gap dissatisfaction spread across every age, income and gender group.

California has one of the highest income disparities in the country, according to 2010 U.S. Census data provided to 24/7 Wall St., which found that the state has the seventh-highest proportion of households earning more than $200,000 a year but also has the most American households earning less than $10,000 a year.

Perhaps nowhere in the state is the growing wealth gap more evident than in Silicon Valley, where almost half the population earns at least $100,000 and have seen their incomes increase with the tech boom, while incomes of the other half began to plummet.

However, the poll found that California’s liberals and conservatives don’t see eye to eye on the best method to resolve income inequality, mirroring the national disagreement on minimum wage increases between parties.

“The public divides sharply along party and ideological grounds about the role that government should be playing in trying to reduce the wealth gap and in changing state minimum wage laws,” Field Poll founder Mervin Field and Director Mark DiCamillo wrote in a press release for the survey. “While majorities of Democrats and strong liberals support a more active government role in reducing the wealth gap and favor increasing the state minimum wage above its already scheduled increases, majorities of Republicans and strong conservatives are opposed.”

The survey also found that, by a 2-to-1 margin, immigrants are more likely to be satisfied with the state’s wealth and income distribution than U.S.-born Californians are.

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