More than half of Americans agree that a good job is essential to having a high quality of life. Two-thirds of the general population also concur that having a certificate, certification or degree beyond high school is essential for getting a good job.The actual numbers of those who strongly agree with these two propositions are:
44% strongly believe "Having a certificate, certification, or degree beyond high school is essential for getting a good job."If you assume that those are conditional beliefs, then you have only 24% of the population (44% X 54%) who believe that a high quality of life requires a good job and that attainment of a good job requires some form of higher education/certification.
54% strongly believe "A good job is essential to having a high quality of life."
There are certainly alternate scenarios that everyone can agree on. There are lots of people who have a high quality of life without a good job and there are very successful people who have never achieved a higher education. But this isn't about possibilities. We know it is possible. The question is about probabilities. And in that regard, it is surprising to me that there is only a 24% constituency that strongly equates higher education with good jobs and good jobs with better quality of life.
I suspect that if you did a survey of those who have been in the top two quintiles for more than a decade, you would find something more like 80-90% strongly agreeing with those two propositions. And that gap between 24% and 80% strongly agreeing is not unlikely part of the issue of disparate outcomes.