Over the past year, the share of Americans who say more needs to be done to achieve racial equality has increased across racial/ethnic lines, a survey by the Pew Research Center finds.
According to the report based on the survey, Across Racial Lines, More Say Nation Needs to Make Changes to Achieve Racial Equality (21 pages, PDF), the percentage of survey respondents who see a continued need to address racial inequality rose from 46 percent in March 2014 to 59 percent in July 2015 — with a jump of 7 percentage points (79 percent to 86 percent) among African Americans, 16 percentage points (54 percent to 70 percent) among Latinos, and 14 percentage points (39 percent to 53 percent) among whites. Fifty years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act but less than a year after the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, Baltimore, and elsewhere, just 32 percent of respondents said the country has made the changes needed to give African Americans equal rights, down from 49 percent in 2014.
The survey also found that 50 percent of all survey respondents said racism is a big problem in American society today — including 73 percent of African Americans, 58 percent of Latinos, and 44 percent of whites — compared with 26 percent in 2009 and 33 percent in 2010. Indeed, the share of those who say racism is a big problem and that more needs to be done to achieve racial equality has grown across all regions, demographics, and party affiliations.
When asked about the South Carolina state legislature's vote in July to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds, 57 percent of all respondents said it was the right decision — including 76 percent of African Americans, 56 percent of whites, and 52 percent of Latinos — while 34 percent said it was the wrong decision. The survey also found that while 74 percent of Democrats supported the decision, Republicans were more divided, with 43 percent supporting the decision and 49 percent opposing it.