A year after the election of Barack Obama as the nation's forty-fourth president, African Americans' assessments about the state of African-American progress have improved more dramatically than at any time in the last quarter-century, a new report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds.
Based on a survey conducted in late 2009 of nearly 2,900 adults, including 812 African Americans, the report, Blacks Upbeat About Black Progress, Prospects (109 pages, PDF), found that nearly twice as many African Americans (39 percent) than in 2007 (20 percent) said that the situation of African-American people in the United States was better than it had been five years earlier. And a majority of African-American respondents (53 percent) said they think life will be better in the future for African Americans, up from 44 percent in 2007, while 54 percent said they believe Obama's barrier-shattering election has improved race relations in America. Nearly one-third of whites said they believed the same.
In addition, 44 percent of African-American respondents said they were very satisfied with their community as a place to live, compared to 36 percent two years earlier. That figure is still well below the rate for white respondents, however, which remained virtually unchanged since 2007 at 64 percent.
Although most African-American and white respondents said that the two racial groups have grown more alike in the past decade in their standard of living and core values, more than 80 percent of African Americans — compared to about a third of whites — said the country needs to make more changes to give African Americans equal rights with whites.