It’s a way of thinking and speaking that we often use when we talk about crime- “my neighborhood is ok, but over there (somewhere else), things are pretty bad.” In fact, research shows that people’s perception of crime often follows this logic even if statistically it isn’t true. According to a recent Gallup poll, the same kind of thinking applies to the economy; when asked about the state of the economy in their community, state, nation, and the world, Americans believe things are better in their own neighborhoods and then get worse the further the place is from their own home.
The numbers, collected and published last month, show that 49% believe economic conditions in their local area are good, while 25% believe the national economy is good and only 13% believe the global economy is doing well. The only slight exception to this phenomenon comes from the western United States, especially California, where people are slightly more negative about the status of their state economy. Gallup believes this is linked to the very publicly known fact that the state of California has a long standing economic and budgetary crisis.
So what does it all mean? For starters the perceptions people in the United States have about what is going on around them, is always more positive when it comes to things closer to home. Is positive thinking or a denial of the truth? That question remains unanswered. One thing holds true, just like i discussions of crime and safety, the perception of how the economy is doing may not be necessarily connected to the reality. And the further things are from home, the more pessimistic people seem to be about them.
Photo: Bill on Capitol Hill / flickr