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Social & Policy Issues
Less Than Half in U.S. OK With Treatment of Immigrants, Arabs
Social & Policy Issues

Less Than Half in U.S. OK With Treatment of Immigrants, Arabs

by Art Swift
Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • 45% in U.S. satisfied with how Arabs treated; 43% for immigrants
  • Whites more satisfied than blacks with blacks' treatment
  • Hispanics least likely to be satisfied with how immigrants are treated

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Among six key groups in society, Americans are least satisfied with the way Arabs and immigrants are treated in the U.S. Less than half of Americans are satisfied with the treatment of either group. In contrast, Americans are most satisfied with the way Asians are treated (75% very or somewhat satisfied). A slim majority, 51%, are satisfied with the treatment of blacks.

Satisfaction With the Way Key Groups in U.S. Society Are Treated, 2015 vs. 2016
We'd like to know how you feel about the way various groups in society are treated. For each of the following groups please say whether you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the way they are treated. How about … ?
  Very/Somewhat satisfied, 2015 Very/Somewhat satisfied, 2016
  % %
Asians 77 75
Women 64 63
Hispanics 58 54
Blacks 49 51
Arabs 49 45
Immigrants 44 43

The results are based on Gallup's 2016 Minority Rights and Relations poll, conducted June 7-July 1 with more than 3,200 adults, including 1,300 non-Hispanic whites, 900 non-Hispanic blacks and 900 Hispanics.

The overall 2016 figures for this question remained relatively stable from last year, with the largest drop -- four percentage points each -- in Americans' perceptions about the treatment of Hispanics and Arabs. Perceptions of how blacks are treated are within two points of where they were last year. Treatment of Asians has remained consistently at the top of these satisfaction ratings since 2001.

The current stability stands in contrast to more substantial shifts earlier this decade. The most recent significant shift occurred between 2013 and 2015, when Americans' overall satisfaction with how blacks are treated dropped from 62% to 49% after high-profile killings of black men by white police officers. This year, satisfaction with how blacks are treated remains on the low side, but it has stabilized at 51%. The 2016 survey was conducted before the police-related shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, along with the shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge in July.

Blacks Least Satisfied With Society's Treatment of Them

Thirty-two percent of black Americans say they are satisfied with how society treats blacks, within two percentage points of the lowest reading over the past 15 years. Americans of other racial and ethnic identities are more positive about the treatment of blacks, however. Forty-seven percent of Hispanics and 56% of whites are satisfied with society's treatment of blacks.

Trend: Satisfaction With Way Blacks Are Treated in Society


Since 2001, never have a majority of blacks been satisfied with the way society treats blacks. The highest satisfaction was in 2013, at 47%, but blacks' assessments plunged to 33% by 2015.

In 2007, the contrast between national adults and blacks was stark -- a trend high of 71% of whites said they were satisfied with the way blacks are treated, yet only 30% of blacks themselves agreed with the same sentiment. Blacks currently are also less satisfied than whites with the way immigrants and Arabs are treated. But Hispanics are even less satisfied with immigrants' treatment. Blacks are also less satisfied with Hispanics' treatment than whites are.

Satisfaction With Treatment of Key U.S. Groups, by Race and Ethnicity
Very/Somewhat satisfied
  Whites Blacks Hispanics
  % % %
Asians 81 62 60
Women 68 49 56
Hispanics 59 43 46
Blacks 56 32 47
Arabs 47 35 44
Immigrants 46 38 32
Gallup, June 7-July 1, 2016

Gallup does not have a sufficient sample of Arabs to report on how they feel Arabs are treated in the U.S.

Bottom Line

In this election year, the issues of race and ethnicity have been at the forefront of the presidential campaign, and in "down-ballot" contests as well. Republican nominee Donald Trump has made blocking certain groups of immigrants from entering the U.S., including Muslims and Mexicans, a centerpiece of his campaign.

Gallup has not found much change in how Americans believe immigrants are treated in the past year since Trump became a candidate, however. While a sizable number of Arabs in the U.S. are Muslims, many are Christians, and there has only been modest change in the satisfaction with the treatment of Arabs in the past year. Still, immigrants and Arabs are viewed as getting worse treatment than other key minority groups.

The recent incidents of deadly encounters between blacks and police have forced race further to the front of the 2016 campaign. Blacks still have diminished satisfaction with how they believe blacks are treated in the U.S., while satisfaction with the treatment of blacks among other races and ethnicities, and among national adults overall, has modestly increased.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 7-July 1, 2016, with a random sample of 3,270 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the total sample of 1,320 non-Hispanic whites, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on sample of 912 non-Hispanic blacks and 906 Hispanics, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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