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Americans Less Satisfied With Treatment of Minority Groups
Politics

Americans Less Satisfied With Treatment of Minority Groups

Americans Less Satisfied With Treatment of Minority Groups

Story Highlights

  • Fewer satisfied with the treatment of blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, Asians
  • Democrats, blacks are significantly less satisfied compared with 2016 survey
  • More now say blacks are treated less fairly than whites in a variety of situations

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' satisfaction with the way several minority groups are treated in society has fallen in recent years. Significantly fewer Americans now than in 2016 are satisfied with the way immigrants, blacks, Hispanics and Asians are treated. As a result, figures for the treatment of blacks and Hispanics now join those for immigrants and Arabs below the majority level.

Americans' Declining Satisfaction With Treatment of Minority Groups
Next, 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.
2016 2018 Change
% Satisfied % Satisfied Pct. pts.
Asians 75 66 -9
Hispanics 54 46 -8
Blacks 51 44 -7
Arabs 45 44 -1
Immigrants 43 37 -6
Note: Percentages include those very/somewhat satisfied.
Gallup

These results are based on Gallup's Race Relations poll of more than 6,000 U.S. adults, including more than 700 blacks and Hispanics, conducted Nov. 19-Dec. 22, 2018.

Among blacks, just 18% are satisfied with the way society treats blacks, down from 32% in 2016 and a high of 47% in 2013. Whites and Hispanics are also less satisfied with the treatment of blacks than they were three years ago.

Line graph. Satisfaction with the way blacks are treated in society, by race and ethnicity.

Hispanics' satisfaction with the way Hispanics are treated has also fallen, from 46% to 37%. Blacks' satisfaction with Hispanics' treatment has fallen even further, dropping from 43% to 25%, while there has been only a small decline among whites.

Line graph. Satisfaction with the way Hispanics are treated in society, by race and ethnicity.

Blacks' satisfaction with the way immigrants and Arabs are treated also has dropped more than whites' and Hispanics' satisfaction has.

Politics seems to be a big reason behind the changes in opinion -- especially among Democrats, who may be expressing their frustration with the Trump administration's policies toward immigrants and minority groups. Democrats show double-digit declines in satisfaction with the treatment of all groups, except Arabs (for whom ratings were already low).

Meanwhile, there has been little to no change in independents' views. Republicans' satisfaction also has changed little, for the most part, with two notable exceptions -- significant increases in their satisfaction with the way immigrants and Arabs are treated.

Changes in Satisfaction of Treatment of Groups, by Party
Next, 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.
Democrats Independents Republicans
%, 2016 %, 2018 %, 2016 %, 2018 %, 2016 %, 2018
Asians 68 52 71 67 89 87
Hispanics 41 23 51 48 75 79
Blacks 32 20 50 45 76 77
Arabs 28 23 43 44 65 74
Immigrants 33 16 41 38 58 68
Note: Percentages include those very/somewhat satisfied.
Gallup

Democrats now show low levels of satisfaction, between 16% and 23%, for the way most groups are treated. A slim majority of Democrats remain satisfied with the treatment of Asians.

Less than a majority of independents are satisfied with the way all groups are treated, except Asians, while solid majorities of Republicans express satisfaction with the treatment of all five groups asked about.

Record-High Percentages Say Blacks Treated Less Fairly in Many Situations

In addition to measuring Americans' satisfaction with the way society treats various groups, Gallup also asked whether they think blacks are treated less fairly than whites in a variety of situations. About one in four U.S. adults (24%) say blacks are treated less fairly than whites in getting healthcare from doctors and hospitals, while more than half (52%) say the same about interactions with police.

Since 2016, perceptions that blacks are treated less fairly have increased for each of the six situations tested. All are at high points in their trends, which stretch back to 1997.

Americans Say Blacks Treated Less Fairly Than Whites in a Variety of Situations
Just your impression, are blacks in your community treated less fairly than whites in the following situations?
2016 2018 Change
% Yes, less fairly % Yes, less fairly Pct. pts.
In dealing with the police, such as traffic incidents 45 52 +7
In stores downtown or in the shopping mall 24 32 +8
On the job or at work 24 30 +6
In neighborhood shops 21 28 +7
In restaurants, bars, theaters or other entertainment places 20 28 +8
In getting healthcare from doctors and hospitals 18 24 +6
Gallup

Blacks are far more likely than whites to say that blacks are treated less fairly than whites in these situations, with differences generally around 30 percentage points. The biggest gap is seen in perceptions of treatment at work, with 60% of blacks vs. 22% of whites believing blacks are treated less fairly.

Perceptions That Blacks Are Treated Less Fairly Than Whites, by Race
Just your impression, are blacks in your community treated less fairly than whites in the following situations?
Blacks Whites Difference
% Yes, less fairly % Yes, less fairly Pct. pts.
In dealing with the police, such as traffic incidents 77 45 +32
In stores downtown or in the shopping mall 59 25 +34
On the job or at work 60 22 +38
In neighborhood shops 48 22 +26
In restaurants, bars, theaters or other entertainment places 50 22 +28
In getting healthcare from doctors and hospitals 49 17 +32
Gallup, Nov. 19-Dec. 22, 2018

Whites, blacks and Hispanics all perceive worse treatment of blacks in these situations than did so in 2016. Among political groups, Democrats are significantly more likely than they were in 2016 to say blacks are treated less fairly than whites, with increases of nine to 12 points on the situations asked about. Independents show smaller increases of between six and nine points, while Republicans show no meaningful change.

Blacks' Reports of How They Are Personally Treated Mostly Steady

When asked how they are personally treated in many of the same situations, blacks generally say they are treated fairly. Blacks are most likely to say they have been treated unfairly in the past 30 days while shopping in a store (29%) and are least likely to say they have been treated unfairly while getting healthcare (16%). About one in five blacks, 21%, report being treated unfairly by the police in the past 30 days.

The percentages of blacks reporting unfair treatment in most of these situations have increased modestly since 2016, although all changes are within the poll's margin of sampling error.

Slight Upticks in Blacks' Self-Reports of Being Treated Unfairly
Can you think of any occasion in the last 30 days when you felt you were treated unfairly in the following places because you were black?
2016 2018 Change
% Yes, treated unfairly % Yes, treated unfairly Pct. pts.
In a store where you were shopping 25 29 +4
In a restaurant, bar, theater or other entertainment place 19 23 +4
In dealings with the police, such as traffic incidents 16 21 +5
At your place of work 19 19 0
While getting healthcare for yourself or a family member 12 16 +4
Note: This question was asked of black respondents only.
Gallup

The percentages of blacks reporting unfair treatment are near the highs for each item in Gallup's trend, though none are currently record highs. The high points have come at different points over the past 20 years for the various items.

One notable difference by subgroup is that younger blacks are significantly more likely than older blacks to report unfair treatment across all situations asked about, except for getting healthcare.

Bottom Line

Last summer, Gallup found a record-high 75% of Americans saying immigration is a good thing for the U.S. Additionally, a Pew Research Center survey from around the same time found a majority of Americans saying the country benefits from having a diverse society. Yet Americans' satisfaction with the way minority groups are treated in society, including immigrants as a whole, is the lowest Gallup has measured in 18 years of polling on the subject.

The decline in satisfaction may well be a reaction to Trump administration policies and rhetoric viewed by many as hostile to immigrants or minorities. Indeed, Americans' satisfaction with the treatment of most of these minority groups was largely stable throughout much of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. One major exception, however, was the sharp drop in satisfaction with the way blacks are treated in 2015, after several high-profile cases in which black men were killed by white police officers. Americans' satisfaction with the treatment of blacks has declined even further in the latest poll -- in the first survey conducted during the Trump administration -- as has satisfaction with how all other groups are treated.

As Gallup found in 2015, much of the perception of unfair treatment may not align precisely with the reality that minorities experience. At least as far as blacks are concerned, they do not report significantly worse treatment now than in 2016. Still, blacks' reports of being treated unfairly in the past month are among the highest Gallup has measured in the past 20 years, and there is undoubtedly much progress to be made in the way blacks and other minorities are treated in society.

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Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/246866/americans-less-satisfied-treatment-minority-groups.aspx
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