Presented with a list of high-end consumer goods and services, and asked whether they have them and whether they believe most other people have them, most Americans tend to over-estimate what most other families have; for example, more than six-in-ten (62%) believe say that most families have a high definition television, whereas just 42% of all adults say that their family has one. Similarly, about a quarter (24%) of respondents believe that most people have a child in private school, though only 15% of parents with school age children report having a child in private school. Lopsided majorities also believe that most families have cable or satellite service, two or more cars, and high speed internet access. In these judgments, they are correct — a majority of families report that they do in fact have these goods and services. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.