Survey: American Identity
A recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research:
- Sixty-five percent of Americans say diversity makes the United States stronger, up from 56 percent in an AP-NORC poll taken last June. Only 11 percent say it makes the country weaker, and 23 percent think it has no effect.
- Along with a positive view of diversity, Americans see immigration in a largely positive light, although they are less welcoming to refugees.
- Nearly 6 in 10 say the United States should be a country with an essential American culture and values that immigrants take on when they arrive, but just as many say that most recent immigrants retain their own customs, rather than assimilate.
- Americans say legal immigration provides more advantages than disadvantages, and two-thirds think the benefits outweigh any risks. The public is closely split on whether the possible harm from welcoming refugees outweighs potential advantages.
- Six in 10 Americans say legal immigration boosts the reputation of the United States as a land of opportunity and benefits companies with technical expertise.
- A third of the public agrees that the United States stands above all other countries in the world, while 56 percent of the public say the United States is one of the greatest countries in the world along with some others. Just 11 percent think there are other countries that are better.
- Nearly 8 in 10 Americans are proud of the country’s armed forces, while less than 3 in 10 have pride in how groups in society are treated and in the Social Security system.
- More than three-quarters consider a fair judicial system and rule of law, Constitutional freedoms and liberties, and the ability to achieve the American dream as central tenets of the country’s identity. Half say the mixing of cultures is important, and fewer think the country’s identity is tied to Christian values and European traditions. However, 7 in 10 consider the use of English to be important.
- More than half of Americans say political polarization is extremely or very threatening to the United States. Nearly as many consider political leaders, economic inequality, and illegal immigration as important threats to the American way of life. Four in 10 say influence from foreign governments jeopardizes the country, but only 15 percent say that about legal immigration.
Most Americans fear the United States is losing its national identity, with 7 in 10 saying so compared to just 3 in 10 who say the country’s identity is secure. Young people are particularly likely to say the country is losing its identity (77 percent) compared to those age 60 and older (66 percent). This is one issue where Democrats, independents, and Republicans are in agreement: about 7 in 10 of each of these groups says the country is losing its identity.