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It's a law of nature: The Payless Shoe Source clad are consistently at odds with the Manolo Blahnik set. Right? Not anymore, or at least less so now than at any time in the past 29 years. According to market research firm Harris Interactive, the Alienation Index — an indicator based on the responses to five questions about the sense of alienation that many people feel toward the rich and powerful — has dropped 15 points, from 62 in 1999 to 47 in 2001. That's the lowest level of alienation measured by Harris in any year since 1972. (Harris has been tracking alienation annually since 1966.) But not all items in the Index have fallen by the same amount. The most recent survey, conducted by telephone among a nationwide cross section of 1,011 U.S. adults Dec. 14-19, 2001, reveals that the number of Americans who believe that “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer� (69 percent) is unchanged from 2000 and down only 5 percentage points since 1999. Meanwhile, the percent of people who feel “the people running the country don't really care what happens to you� is down from 53 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2001.


While some people are still more alienated than others, everyone feels a greater sense of community than they did just two years ago.



White 43 -17
Black 66 -6
Hispanic 54 -5
High school or less 52 -16
Some college 47 -17
College graduate 36 -11
Postgraduate 39 -4
All 47 -15
The 5 questions used to calculate the Alienation Index are: “Do you tend to feel or not feel…�
1. “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?�
2. “what you think doesn't count very much anymore?�
3. “most people with power try to take advantage of people like yourself?�
4. “the people running the country don't really care what happens to you?�
5. “you're left out of things going on around you?�
Source: Harris Interactive
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