As economically developing countries grow prosperous, their middle classes understandably become more satisfied with their lives. But many of their basic values also appear to change.
Over time, the values of the middle classes in emerging countries become more like those of the publics of advanced nations. This is the overall conclusion of a new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted in partnership with The Economist magazine. . .
The study finds that in 13 middle-income nations from regions around the globe, people tend to hold different opinions about democracy and social issues once they reach a certain level of wealth.
Compared with poorer people in emerging countries, members of the middle class assign more importance to democratic institutions and individual liberties, consider religion less central to their lives, hold more liberal social values and express more concern about the environment . . .
. . . previous Pew Global Attitudes research has shown a clear link between wealth and religiosity at the country level – as a country’s overall wealth increases, its level of religiosity generally declines. There are, however, some exceptions, most notably the United States, which is both wealthy and a religious nation. What this new analysis illustrates is that within countries, wealthier individuals are often less religious. . .
The Economist: Special poll on middle class attitudes (see sidebar for related items)