In a sign of our part-time recovery, four out of every five American adults face joblessness or poverty at some point during their lives.

The survey, released exclusively by the Associated Press, found that America's recession has widened the gap between the rich and poor and increased hardship among whites, who report their highest levels of pessimism about the future since 1987.

Disparity in income, which used to break starkly on racial lines, has narrowed between whites and minorities as more of the middle class has been pushed into the service industry or been forced to take part-time positions.

"It's time that America comes to understand that many of the nation's biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position," William Julius Wilson, the renowned Harvard professor who specializes on race and the economy, told the AP.

Over the past decade, the study found that the largest losses in wealth have been among working class whites. Prospects for minorities, as always, are not very good, either.