Working-Class myths? Walmart & steak versus … week, we’re discussing the third of all Americans who pollsters, pundits and politicians group as “White Working-Class Americans.” Yesterday, we busted a few myths about this group, based on findings from a new study by the Public Religion Research Institute.

Today, we’re looking at some common assumptions about this group that are true.

Here are some ways that these Americans make distinctive choices in consumption and culture. NOTE: As we learned Monday, this group is defined partly by education, which stops at the high school level. So, pollsters and sociologists often compare this group with college-educated Americans to see distinctive patterns.

WALMART: When compared to white college-educated Americans, this working-class group strongly prefers Walmart over Target. It’s a striking difference, the report says: A majority (56%) of white working-class Americans report that they would prefer to shop at Walmart as opposed to Target, while 6-in-10 (60%) white college-educated Americans say the reverse.

MEAT EATERS: Overall, white working-class culture assumes that meat makes a good dinner. The report says: Only 31% of white working-class Americans have a close friend or family member who is vegetarian, compared to a majority (53%) of college-educated Americans.

PARENTAL AUTHORITY: Working-class families favor deference to authority over autonomy. The report says: When asked to choose between pairs of traits that emphasize children’s autonomy versus deference to parental authority, nearly two-thirds (65%) of white working-class Americans favor authoritarian childrearing traits, compared to around 4-in-10 (41%) white college-educated Americans.

And there’s more that makes this group distinctive …

DISCRIMINATION? A sizable majority (60%) of white working-class Americans believe that discrimination against whites has become a big problem, compared to 39% of white Americans with a college education. Members of the white working class are also much more likely to blame illegal immigration for our nation’s economic woes, believing that illegal immigrants take jobs away from American citizens.

AMERICAN DREAM? Less than a half (47%) of white working-class Americans believe that the American Dream still holds true for them, compared to 63% of college-educated whites. Based on other research studies, this working-class viewpoint reflects an accurate understanding of the realities of getting ahead in America today.

GOD & AMERICA? Seven of ten white working-class Americans still believe that God has a special place in history for our nation. Getting a college education puts this in doubt. Only 42% of white college-educated Americans believe that God has a special mission for us.

Are you surprised by any of these findings?

Personally, do you agree or disagree with these viewpoints?

How about the last one: Does God have a special place for America?

Please, leave a Comment below.

Originally published at, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.

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