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piggy bank falling on people The study illustrates how anxiety is increased by financial worries–just 10 percent of the wealthiest Americans report being very anxious about their future. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The social bargain that many Americans have accepted (if not embraced)—that extremes of wealth and poverty are part of an equation that allows the middle class to live in comfort and with “enough”—could be breaking down, according to the findings of a new national survey.

Life Experiences and Income Inequality in the United States,” a report from National Public Radio, the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health Chan, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, surveyed more than 1,800 Americans of different levels of household wealth. The findings suggest stark differences in attitudes between the wealthiest and other groups—and a growing sense of insecurity among middle class households. The study looked at several areas of inequality—this article will look at general findings, while part two will focus on health care issues.

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