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Majority Still Extremely Proud to Be American

Majority Still Extremely Proud to Be American

But the percentage of Americans who are extremely proud has declined in the last several years

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- The July Fourth holiday celebrating the nation's independence provides a good time to take stock of Americans' patriotism. Gallup has asked the basic question: "How proud are you to be an American?" eight times since January 2001, with the following results.

How proud are you to be an American -- extremely proud, very proud, moderately proud, only a little proud, or not at all proud?


Extremely


Very


Moder-
ately

Only a
little


Not
at all

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2006 Jun 9-11

57

25

10

3

3

1

2006 Jan 9-12

59

26

9

3

2

1

2005 Jan 14-16

61

22

12

3

1

1

2004 Jan 2-5 ^

69

22

5

3

1

*

2003 Jun 27-29

70

20

6

2

1

1

2002 Sep 2-4

69

23

5

1

1

1

2002 Jun 17-19

65

25

6

1

2

1

2001 Jan 10-14

55

32

9

1

1

2

* Less than 0.5%

^ Asked of a half sample

There has been some change in this variable over time. The percentage of Americans indicating they were extremely proud to be American increased in 2002 (after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks), and remained at its 2002 level through 2004. It has fallen back since then.

In January 2001, 55% of Americans were extremely proud to be American. That figure shot up to 65% in June 2002, ultimately reaching a high point of 70% in June 2003. It remained high in January 2004, but began to decline in 2005 and is now essentially back where it began, at 57% extremely proud.

Exactly who is and is not extremely proud to be American? The accompanying chart shows the percentage of Americans who are extremely proud to be American within various subgroups of the U.S. population, rank-ordered from top to bottom. The data are based on an aggregate of the two polls conducted in 2006 that contained the "how proud" question.

"How Proud Are You to Be an American?"

% Extremely Proud


Demographic

2006

Republicans

74

Conservatives

71

Southerners

66

30- to 49-year-olds

62

Some college education

62

$30,000 to $49,999 per year

61

$75,000 or more per year

61

50- to 64-year-olds

61

College graduates

60

All U.S. adults

58

$50,000 to $74,999 per year

58

65 years and older

58

High school education or less

58

Men

58

Women

58

Moderates

56

$20,000 to $29,999 per year

55

Easterners

55

Midwesterners

55

Westerners

54

Independents

53

Postgraduate education

49

Democrats

47

Less than $20,000 per year

46

18- to 29-year-olds

46

Liberals

40

There is not a great deal of variation in the results. Most of the demographic and regional subgroups are broadly within the range around the total sample average of 58%.

Three groups are distinctly more likely to report being extremely proud than is the sample average: Republicans, conservatives, and those living in the South.

Five groups are well below the sample average on this measure: those with postgraduate educations, Democrats, those making less than $20,000 a year, younger Americans aged 18 to 29, and liberals.

The lack of "pride" among the youngest group of Americans -- those 18 to 29 -- is notable and potentially important. However, there is not a straight linear relationship between age and how proud someone is to be American. Those 65 and older are actually slightly less likely to report being extremely proud than are those between the ages of 30 and 64.

The accompanying chart reflects the differences between an aggregate of the three polls (conducted from 2002 to 2004) in which the average "extremely proud" percentage was 70%, and the two 2006 polls in which this percentage dropped to 58%.

"How Proud Are You to Be an American?"

% Extremely Proud

2002-2004

2006

Difference

Total

70

58

-12

Conservatives

79

71

-8

Moderates

68

56

-12

Liberals

55

40

-15

Less than $20,000 per year

63

46

-17

$20,000 to $29,999 per year

68

55

-13

$30,000 to $49,999 per year

71

61

-10

$50,000 to $74,999 per year

71

58

-13

$75,000 or more per year

74

61

-13

18- to 29-year-olds

63

46

-17

30- to 49-year-olds

71

62

-9

50- to 64-year-olds

73

61

-12

65 and older

68

58

-10

Republicans

84

74

-10

Independents

63

53

-10

Democrats

64

47

-17

High school education or less

70

58

-12

Some college education

72

62

-10

College graduates

70

60

-10

Postgraduate education

62

49

-13

Easterners

64

55

-9

Midwesterners

72

55

-17

Southerners

73

66

-7

Westerners

67

54

-13

Men

68

58

-10

Women

71

58

-13

The overall level of change between these two aggregated samples is -12 percentage points. The change among many of these subgroups is roughly in line with the overall level of change, suggesting no significantly different pattern. A few trends are worth noting:

  • The subgroups whose "extremely proud" percentages have dropped the most between the two time periods presented in this analysis are those with the lowest levels of income, young Americans, Democrats, and those living in the Midwest.
  • Subgroups that have seen the smallest amount of change in their "extremely proud" percentages include those living in the South and conservatives.

Bottom Line

It appears that the burst of patriotism that came after Sept. 11, 2001, has now dissipated, and Americans now are basically neither prouder nor less proud to be American than they were in early 2001. Gallup does not have long-term trends on this measure and so is unable to tell whether Americans' sentiments today might differ from their feelings in earlier decades.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,002 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted June 9-11, 2006. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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