Survey of Americans on Race
Section 5: Changes Over Time
Many of the same questions reported here were included in a Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post/Harvard School of Public Health Survey on race in American in 1995. While there have been increases in the shares saying racism is a big problem or that racial tensions have increased in the past 10 years, overall, there have been modest changes in the public’s views on a number of other measures. For example, when it comes to the role the federal government should have in ensuring equality in income, education, and criminal justice, compared to 20 years ago, the public is somewhat more likely to now say it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure minorities have incomes equal to Whites (47 percent, up from 39 percent in 1995). In contrast, slightly fewer Americans overall say it is the government’s responsibility to make sure people of minority groups have schools equal in quality to those attended by Whites (65 percent, down from 72 percent in 1995) and treatment by the courts and police equal to that received by Whites (71 percent, down from 77 percent in 1995).
There have also been modest changes in the public’s perceptions of how the average African American or Hispanic American is faring compared to the average White person in terms of income and housing. Blacks are less likely to now say the average African American is worse off in terms of income than they were in 1995 (71 percent versus 84 percent), but otherwise, responses are fairly similar over time for Blacks and Whites. On how the average Hispanic American is faring compared to the average White American, Hispanics are generally less likely now than in 1995 to say Hispanics are worse off than the average White person in terms of income and housing.
|Changes Over Time In Views Of How Average African American or Hispanic American Is Faring Compared To The Average White Person On Income, Education, and Housing|
|Percent who say the average African American is worse off than the average White person in terms of each of the following.|
|Percent who say the average Hispanic American is worse off than the average White person in terms of each of the following.|
Finally, views on what some see as reasons for the economic and social problems facing African Americans or Hispanic Americans have changed somewhat in the past 20 years. Fewer Blacks today say major reasons for the social and economic problems facing Black Americans include educational opportunities (55 percent in 2015 compared to 67 percent in 1995) and lack of jobs (64 percent in 2015 compared to 74 percent in 1995). On factors related to the problems facing Hispanic Americans, views among Hispanics have not changed substantially compared to 20 years ago. However, perceptions have changed among Whites who are now less likely than they were in 1995 to say the following are major reasons for problems facing Hispanic Americans: lack of educational opportunities is (30 percent versus 46 percent), lack of motivation and unwillingness to work hard (13 percent versus 25 percent), and lack of jobs (29 percent versus 42 percent).
Additionally, despite discussion of affirmative action in the courts and elsewhere over the past 20 years, there has been little change in the public’s views of affirmative action over time. Compared to 1995, Whites are slightly more likely today to say that race should be considered in advancement decisions (17 percent, up from 12 percent in 1995), while Blacks are somewhat less likely to say race should be considered (20 percent, down from 28 percent in 1995).