Study: It’s Not Too Late to Fix Divided America

Study: It’s Not Too Late to Fix Divided America


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Maya Siman
Creative Consultant for AreaVibes
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

With the 2020 presidential election quickly approaching, politics in America are now more heated than ever. Research continues to highlight the deep divide between Democrats and Republicans over everything from policy measures to personal values and even tolerance of different opinions.

This divide doesn’t just live at the voting polls, though; it’s also a part of our relationships and conversations. To explore this further, AreaVibes surveyed over 1,000 Americans to understand how much they care about the people who live next door, particularly when their neighbors have different beliefs or backgrounds. And while they discovered that conservative Americans were the least likely to feel uncomfortable living next door to someone with a Confederate flag in their yard, right-leaning supporters were also more likely to feel accepted by their neighbors than liberal respondents. Here’s a more in-depth review of their findings.

When AreaVibes asked Americans who they feel the most uncomfortable living next to, an overwhelming majority (obviously) pointed to sex offenders (80%), followed by someone with a violent criminal record (70%) or who’d been arrested on drug charges (49%). While it was the least common response, 1 in 10 Americans said they were uncomfortable living next door to someone from the Middle East.

Despite the fact that there are over 350 languages spoken in the U.S., older Americans were the most likely to feel uncomfortable with neighbors who have a language barrier. About 1 in 3 baby boomers, over 1 in 4 Gen Xers, and around 1 in 5 millennials said non-English-speaking people in their communities made them uncomfortable. White (28%) and Black or African American (27%) survey respondents were more likely than Hispanic people and Asian Americans to feel this discomfort. Bias against non-English-speaking neighbors was also highest among right-leaning Americans (45%).

For some people, animosity toward neighbors is directed more toward their beliefs than race or nationality. Sixty percent of millennials said they would not move next door to someone who kept a Confederate flag in their yard, a higher response than from either Gen Xers (57%) and baby boomers (46%). Compared to almost 73% of left-leaning respondents who refused to live next to someone with a Confederate flag on display, just 38% of conservative voters said the same.

AreaVibes also found that 72% of Americans had visited prospective neighborhoods to assess the community. White respondents were more likely to live in communities of the same race or ethnicity than any other group surveyed.

Despite their concerns, the majority of Americans across all generations surveyed acknowledged feeling accepted by the neighbors. With this in mind, America may still have the ability to sew itself back together even though the current political climate may imply otherwise.

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