Vast Majority of Blacks Believe Their Racial Identity Is Extremely or Very Important to Their Self-Image

A new study by the Pew Research Center finds that the vast majority of Black Americans say being Black is extremely or very important to how they think about themselves. This is true across all income levels and educational backgrounds. A significant share of Black Americans also say that when something happens to Black people in their local communities, across the nation, or around the globe, it affects what happens in their own lives, highlighting a sense of connectedness.

There are age differences among Blacks concerning their views about the importance of being Black to personal identity. Specifically, 76 percent of Black adults ages 30 to 49, 80 percent of those 50 to 64 and 83 percent of those 65 and older hold this view, while only 63 percent of those African Americans under 30 say being Black is extremely or very important to how they think about themselves.

Black women are more likely than Black men to say being Black is extremely or very important to how they think about themselves. There are also differences relating to political affiliation. Only 58 percent of African Americans who are Republicans, compared to 82 percent who identify as Democrats, say that their Black identity is important.

The report also offers detailed data on differences in the importance of racial identity between native-born and foreign-born Blacks and how they relate to each other. The data also show differences in racial identity between those Black Americans who say their ancestors were enslaved and those whose ancestors were not.

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