Civil Rights, Racial Discrimination Top Concern for Young Americans

Civil Rights, Racial Discrimination Top Concern for Young Americans

The top issues of concern for young Americans are civil rights and racial discrimination, followed by gun safety, immigration, and climate change, a report from INFLUENCE | SG, a part of the Cause and Social Influence initiative sponsored by the Case Foundation, finds.

Based on a survey of eleven hundred Americans between the ages of 18 and 30, the report, Influencing Young America to Act (10 pages, PDF), found that while civil rights and racial discrimination topped the list of concerns for all respondents as well as for African-American and Asian-American respondents, young white respondents were more concerned about healthcare reform, while Latino respondents cited immigration as their top concern. The survey also found that nearly half (48 percent) of respondents believe the United States has gone "off track" or "totally off track" since the 2016 presidential election, while 27 percent felt that the country was "on track" or "totally on track."

According to the survey, nearly 75 percent of young Americans view voting as a form of activism, while majorities of Latino (77 percent), Asian-American (73 percent), white (69 percent), and African-American (55 percent) respondents believe voting can lead to desired change, with two-thirds of respondents planning to vote in the November midterm elections (Latinos, 72 percent; whites, 67 percent; African Americans, 62 percent; and Asian Americans, 57 percent).

The survey also found that 57 percent of respondents were somewhat or extremely dissatisfied with Donald Trump's leadership, while a similar percentage said they trusted themselves and people like them most to make things right, followed by nonprofits, social movements, local government, federal government, and corporations. And while social media and the opinions of peers are often cited as the most important influences in the lives of young people, survey results indicated that television news is more important with respect to creating awareness of social issues among young Americans and inspiring them to act, and that social media plays a larger role in making respondents aware of social movements such as #BlackLivesMatter (34 percent), #MeToo (30 percent), #AllLivesMatter (30 percent), and the Women's March (27 percent).

"New Study Highlights What Influences Young Americans to Act on Today’s Social Issues." Cause & Social Influence Press Release 09/05/2018. "Influencing Young America to Act." Cause & Social Influence Report 09/05/2018.