Survey: How NY area residents feel about the wealthy, high cost of living

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An overwhelming majority of New York residents feel even more stagnant in a metropolitan area that has a cost of living issue, said a new survey released Monday.

Eighty-six percent — of the over 1,500 surveyed across New York City and nearby suburbs in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey — say the high cost of living is a “serious problem.”

The survey, which was conducted over several weeks in July by nonprofit Public Agenda and public radio station, WNYC, alsorevealed “complex attitudes” felt toward the wealthy.

Nearly three quarters of metropolitan residents surveyed felt that as long as everyone else had a chance to get ahead, it was “OK” for the wealthy to get wealthier.

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But at the same time, 65 percent also reported that the income gap between the rich and everyone was a “serious problem.”

“It’s especially interesting to me that the survey found such a widespread feeling that both the poor and middle class are having a difficult time regardless of how hard they work, even as the top few percent of earners gather an increasing share of wealth and income,” Brian Lehrer, host of WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, said in a statement.

While seven in 10 residents of the region felt that the wealthiest hold a greater influence in most government decisions, Will Friedman, president of Public Agenda, also highlighted that people in the region “don’t resent wealth.”

“But they do have a serious problem when they see the rich getting richer while most people work hard and aren’t getting ahead, or when they see the wealthy having outsized influence over decisions that affect everyone’s lives,” Friedman said in a statement.

The survey results — used to stir up more conversation about issues that residents are most concerned about — pinpoints that a cornerstone of worry is the “lack of well-paying and secure jobs.”

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