Pride in Being an American

Thanks to a recent poll by Gallup, the global community has a better sense of how Americans feel about being American.

The poll was conducted between May 28 and June 4, 2020 using a random sampling of 1034 adults aged 18 years and older living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Interviews were conducted using both cell phone respondents (70 percent) and landline respondents (30 percent) and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.  The question asked was as follows:

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

Responses were then broken down by gender, race (white or non-white), age group, educational attainment, political party identification (Republican, Democrat, independent) and ideology (conservative, moderate or liberal).

Here are the results going back to 2001:

Since Gallup began asking this question of the American public in January 2001, the percentage of Americans that are either extremely proud or very proud to be American has reached a new low of 42 percent and a combined 63 percent, well below rates seen even five years ago.

The percentage of Americans that are extremely proud or extremely proud and very proud has dropped significantly since January 2001; back then, 55 percent of Americans were extremely proud to be American and 87 percent of Americans were either extremely proud or very proud to be American.  Only 2 percent of Americans were only a little proud or not at all proud.

Since 2002/2003/2004, the percentage of Americans that were extremely proud has fallen from a peak of 70 percent in June 2003 (thanks to "rallying around the flag" after September 11, 2001) to its current 42 percent, a drop of 40 percent.  Over the same time frame, the percentage of Americans that are either extremely proud or very proud has fallen from a combined 92 percent in September 2002 to its current level of 63 percent, a drop of 31.5 percent.

Here is a graphic showing how pride in being American varies with political affiliation:

Only 24 percent of Democrats are extremely proud to be American, up from its all-time low of 22 percent in June 2019 but down significantly from 56 percent in June 2013 during the height of the Obama Administration and down even further from the peak of 65 percent in June 2003.  Republicans are also feeling somewhat less proud; the latest survey shows that 67 percent of Republicans are extremely proud to be American, down from 76 percent in Jun 2019, the largest year-over-year decline, and significantly lower than the 86 percent level of June 2003.  That said, this is yet another example of the growing political divide in the United States; Republicans as a whole have been much prouder to be American than their Democratic counterparts over the past two decades.

When looking at demographics, 50 percent of males are extremely proud to be American compared to 34 percent of women, 49 percent of Whites are proud to be American compared to only 24 percent of nonwhites and older Americans tend to be extremely proud to be American as follows:

Age 18 to 29 – 20 percent

Age 30 to 49 – 42 percent

Age 50 to 64 – 48 percent

Age 65 and older – 53 percent

Educational attainment also has an impact on American pride with 34 percent of college graduates being extremely proud to be American compared to 46 percent of non-college graduates.

This poll by Gallup shows a significant change in how Americans view their own "Americanness".  It is fascinating to see how pride in being American varies with gender, ethnicity, age and education but, even more surprisingly, how pride in being American is impacted by political leaning, even when Congress and the White House are controlled by "the other's party".

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