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Over a period of 38 years, a 21 percentage-point increase has taken place in the proportion of Pakistanis who believe that a child born in a poor family in Pakistan is unlikely to become rich no matter how hard he/she works.

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In a Gallup & Gilani Pakistan National Survey conducted in the year 1981, i.e., 38 years ago, respondents were asked, “In our country, if a child born in a poor household works very hard, he/she can become rich. What is your opinion on this?” In response to this question, 45% said it was unlikely, 48% said it was likely, while 7% did not know or did not wish to respond.

Comparative Picture: The question was asked again in 2019 to enable a comparison to be made across the years. In 2019, 66% responded with unlikely, 32% responded with likely, while 2% did not know or did not wish to respond.

Findings on this question are available from the year 1981 onwards, and the graph below shows how the figures have fluctuated over the years.

There has been an increase of 21 percentage-points in the proportion of Pakistanis who believe that social mobility is no longer available to the hard-working poor between the years 1981 and 2019. Concurrently, there has been a 16 percentage-point decline in the proportion of Pakistanis who believe that hard work can bring riches even to the children of the poor. It appears that the situation with regard to optimism about social mobility in Pakistan has worsened across the given time period.

The figure is very stable across the past ten years, starting from 2009, as nearly 1 in 3 Pakistanis remain optimistic about the chances of upward mobility for poor citizens.

 This press release has been made as part of the Gallup Pakistan History Project which aims to release historical empirical polling data to wider audiences. The objective is to sustain and encourage empirical decision making in Pakistan.

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