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Methodology
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"One Degree of Separation" is based on a survey of a nationally-representative sample of 611 respondents aged 26 to 34 who have at least a high school diploma or GED, including 206 with only a HS diploma or GED and 405 with any postsecondary credential. Interviews were conducted from December 20, 2010 to January 25, 2011 using both landline and cellular telephones, and respondents had the choice of completing the interview in English or Spanish. The margin of error for the report is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. However, it is higher when comparing subgroups or question items that weren't asked of all respondents. The survey was preceded by two focus groups with young adults, which were conducted in Washington, DC and Indianapolis, Indiana.
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High School Grads (n=206)College Grads (n=405)All Young Adults
(n=611)
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There is no Q1
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Q2. Do you think that a college education is necessary for a person to be successful in today’s work world, or do you think that there are many ways to succeed in today’s work world without a college education?College education is necessary for a person to be successful in today’s work world40%55%48%
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That there are many ways to succeed in today’s work world without a college education57%41%48%
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Don’t know2%4%3%
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Q3. Many things affect people’s success in their jobs or careers. Which of these four things do you think is most important? [Randomized order]Being persistent and having inner drive38%38%38%
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Knowing how to deal with people well 23%21%22%
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Getting a college degree19%13%16%
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Having connections with the right people18%26%22%
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Don’t know*2%1%
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Q4. Now I would like you to think about a few different people. For each one, please tell me how likely they are to be financially secure in their lifetime. [Randomized order]
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Someone who graduates from college and then goes on to a graduate school like law school or a PhD program
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Very likely68%75%72%
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Somewhat likely28%22%25%
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Not too likely1%1%1%
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Not at all likely1%0%1%
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Don’t know0%2%1%
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You, personally
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Very likely36%55%46%
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Somewhat likely53%40%46%
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Not too likely8%2%5%
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Not at all likely1%1%1%
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Don’t know-1%1%
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Someone who has received an undergraduate college degree from your state university
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Very likely35%34%34%
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Somewhat likely59%62%61%
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Not too likely3%2%3%
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Not at all likely1%-1%
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Don’t know1%1%1%
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Someone who graduates high school and becomes an apprentice in a field such as carpentry or plumbing
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Very likely36%29%32%
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Somewhat likely56%62%59%
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Not too likely5%7%6%
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Not at all likely1%1%1%
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Don’t know1%1%1%
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Someone who enlists in the military
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Very likely33%27%30%
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Somewhat likely56%64%61%
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Not too likely7%5%6%
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Not at all likely1%2%1%
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Don’t know2%2%2%
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Someone whose parents are wealthy but does not go to college after graduating high school
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Very likely30%25%27%
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Somewhat likely46%45%46%
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Not too likely19%25%22%
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Not at all likely3%2%3%
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Don’t know*2%1%
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Someone who gets a one-year certificate in Information Technology (IT) management from a technical school
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Very likely26%14%20%
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Somewhat likely61%69%65%
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Not too likely8%15%11%
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Not at all likely1%2%2%
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Don’t know3%1%2%
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Someone who receives an associate’s degree at a local community college
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Very likely26%14%19%
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Somewhat likely67%73%70%
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Not too likely4%11%8%
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Not at all likely-1%1%
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Don’t know1%2%1%
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Someone who graduates from high school and goes right to work, but never takes any higher education courses
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Very likely16%5%10%
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Somewhat likely58%59%59%
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Not too likely20%31%26%
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Not at all likely4%4%4%
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Don’t know1%1%1%
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Someone who starts college at your state university but does not complete the degree
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Very likely7%2%4%
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Somewhat likely64%63%63%
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Not too likely20%31%26%
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Not at all likely6%2%4%
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Don’t know1%1%1%
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Someone who dropped out of high school
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Very likely1%1%1%
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Somewhat likely27%14%20%
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Not too likely42%50%46%
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Not at all likely25%33%29%
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Don’t know2%1%2%
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Q4.1 Overall, how much has the economic recession affected you and your family?A lot31%28%29%
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Some30%31%30%
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Only a little26%24%25%
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Not at all13%17%15%
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Don’t know***
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Q5. How worried are you that the economic recession will continue to affect you and your family in the next few years? [Base: Answered recession affects them "a lot"]Very worried30%33%32%
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Somewhat worried43%43%43%
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Not too worried20%22%21%
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Not at all worried6%2%4%
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