A survey of Occupy Wall Street reveals the group was primarily made up of white, wealthy college graduates, many of whom had grad school degrees.
The survey was carried out by sociologists at the City University of New York. Their results are focused on what they call the “actively involved” or core members of the movement. What they learned about the demographics of this core group is summarized in this chart:
The blue bars represent residents of NY city in general. The tan bars include all members of OWS, both active and casual participants. Finally the orange bars are just the core members. So, for instance, the graph shows that 67 percent of NY residents are “people of color” and 33 percent are white. Among core OWS activists this is exactly reversed with 67 percent white and 33 percent people of color.
Looking at education, 34 percent of NY residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, but among core OWS activists the figure was 80 percent. Finally, just 24 percent of NY residents earn more than $100,000 a year, but 37 percent of OWS core activists earned above this level.
As for the political tilt of the movement, the survey finds exactly what anyone who watched the movement would expect. Among core activists, 57 percent identified with the Democratic party. Among those who voted, 86 percent had voted for Obama in 2008.
By contrast, just 0.8 percent expressed any affiliation with the Republican Party and only one percent of those who voted had cast their ballot for John McCain in 2008.
OWS was not a spontaneous, broad based movement with appeal to everyone in the country. It was a professionally organized yet unsustainable political tantrum carried out by white, well-off Democrats with high levels of education.