June 4, 2013
Contact:
Emerson Brown, NPR


   

POLL: MOST AFRICAN AMERICANS SATISFIED WITH LIVES OVERALL,
BUT MANY HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT FUTURE

NPR NEWS SERIES ‘THE VIEW FROM BLACK AMERICA,' AIRING THIS WEEK,
BASED ON POLL FROM NPR, THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION
AND HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Most African Americans are satisfied with their lives overall but many also have concerns about the future, according to a new poll released today from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health. Results also offer a mixed picture of African Americans' personal lives and their communities, particularly related to discrimination, health care, financial security and crime. Nearly half of employed African Americans are very or somewhat concerned about losing their jobs in the next 12 months, almost half are not confident that they could pay for a major illness and about one-third of all African Americans have had specific experiences with racism at least a few times a year.

The survey findings provide the foundation for the NPR series "The View from Black America," exploring how black Americans see themselves in a changing U.S. The series begins today and airs all week on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Tell Me More. In "The View from Black America," NPR reporters and correspondents delve into the stories behind the numbers, including why twice as many single black men as single black women say they are looking for long-term relationships, perceptions of health and medical care, a surprisingly high dissatisfaction with local entertainment venues, how different financial situations create divided outlooks and how disproportionate unemployment plays out in black communities.

The poll surveyed the life experience of 1,081 African Americans. Results are at NPR.org, where all reports in the series will be available. Among the findings:

Over half of African Americans report that their lives in general have gotten better in recent years (53%), while only one in ten (10%) say that their lives have gotten worse. A strong majority (86%) say they are satisfied with their lives overall, including just under half (48%) who say they are very satisfied.

Over half (56%) report that financially they are better off than their parents were at their age, but one in seven (14%) say they are worse off than their parents were.

High blood pressure/stroke and diabetes are the top health concerns for African American families. When asked to say their own words what is the biggest health problem for their family, one in five African Americans cite high blood pressure/stroke (20%) and diabetes (19%).

While the problems in African American communities may dominate the national discussion, the majority (82%) are satisfied with the area in which they live.

When asked to say their own words what is the most important issue facing the area in which they live, about one in four African Americans (26%) name crime. Issues related to the economy are mentioned by 16%. When asked to grade aspects of the area in which they live, less than half give top grades (A or B) to city or local government (47%), the quality of available housing (47%), or entertainment venues like clubs and movie theaters (39%),

Though nationally school quality in many minority communities is often seen as a problem, a majority of African American parents rate the school their child attends today as excellent or good (70%).

Altogether, about one-third (36%) of all African Americans report that at least a few times a year they have specific experiences with racism.

"The View from Black America" is being reported by NPR’s Code Switch, and its Science and National Desks.

The poll is part of an ongoing series of surveys conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health.