In a Pew Research Center survey in early 2018, around three-quarters of Americans (74%) said voting in elections was very important to what it means to be a good citizen, and around seven-in-ten said the same about paying taxes (71%) and always following the law (69%). But Democrats and Republicans – as well as younger and older adults – didn’t see eye to eye on all the traits and behaviors associated with good citizenship.
In addition to voting, paying taxes and following the law, a majority of Americans said several other traits were very important to good citizenship, including serving on a jury if called (61%); respecting the opinions of others who disagree (61%); and participating in the U.S. census every decade (60%). (The survey was conducted before the Commerce Department announced it would add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census – a decision blocked by the Supreme Court last week.)
Smaller shares said it was very important to good citizenship for Americans to volunteer to help others (52%), know the Pledge of Allegiance (50%), follow what happens in government and politics (49%) and protest when government actions are believed to be wrong (45%).
And although there will be plenty of them out on July Fourth, displaying the American flag ranked at the bottom of the list: A little over a third of U.S. adults (36%) viewed this as very important to good citizenship, though an additional 26% said it was somewhat important.