A recent poll is challenging the belief of how progressive young people are when it comes to diversity. While younger Americans may be more inclusive than previous generations, there are major variances on how they view certain issues, based on their own race and gender.
The “Diversity, Division, Discrimination: The State of Young America” report was produced by the Public Religion Research Institute and MTV after more than 2,000 young people ages 15 to 24 were surveyed and participated in a series of eight focus groups.
The survey revealed some key findings about young Americans on issues related to politics, religion, immigration, race relations and LGBT issues.
Here are a few of the report's highlights.
Young women are more politically engaged than men
Young women are much more likely to have volunteered for a cause they care about, have donated money to a campaign or signed an online petition, compared to young men. As a whole, more than 4 in 10 young people have liked or followed a campaign or organization online that they support in the past year. Fewer than 1 in 5 contacted an elected official or attended a public rally or demonstration.
They’re optimistic about America’s future
More than half — 59 percent — of young people say America’s best days lie ahead, which is slightly larger than the percentage (52 percent) of all Americans belief this. But more than 4 in 10 — 41 percent — believe that the country’s best days are in the past. Of the ethnic groups surveyed, black young people were the least likely to say that America’s best days lie ahead. Only 54 percent of black young people hold that sentiment, compared with two-thirds of Asian young people, 60 percent of white young people and 56 percent of Latino young people.
Some think white people are discriminated against
More than a third — 36 percent — of white young people say discrimination against white people is as serious of a problem as discrimination against people of color.
Nearly 4 in 10 — 38 percent — of white young people believe diversity efforts almost always harm white people. Nearly half — 48 percent — of young white men say diversity efforts will harm white people, while 28 percent of white women said the same.
Race relations are important to them
The overwhelming majority — 80 percent — of young black Americans, along with more than half of Asians (55 percent) and Latinos (52 percent), say race relations are a critical issue to them. Fewer than 4 in 10 — 37 percent — of white young people share the same view.
And young black Americans are more likely than peers of other races to believe Americans are divided over race. Nearly three-fourths — 73 percent — of black young people say Americans are very divided over race. Slightly more than half of their Asian peers share that view. The percentage of Latino (45 percent) and white young people (43 percent) who believe the same is lower.
They don’t like President Trump
Only a quarter of young people view President Trump positively. A large majority — 72 percent — have an unfavorable view of him. But the survey found young white Americans hold the most favorable views of Trump, with more than a third — 35 percent — giving him positive marks. Only 5 percent of young black Americans view the president favorably.
With the midterm elections quickly approaching, both political parties are looking at ways to win young voters. While voter turnout among young people tends to be low during nonpresidential years, relatively high millennial engagement in recent elections, including those in Alabama and Virginia, have party leaders aiming to persuade young voters to turn out for the November elections.