54% of White Voters Think Life Is Worse for Them Now Than It Was 50 Years Ago

54% of White Voters Think Life Is Worse for Them Now Than It Was 50 Years Ago
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

"Things done changed," said the Notorious B.I.G., and indeed, he spoke the truth: In the last 50 years, the U.S. has seen both dramatic growth in its Hispanic and Asian populations, and the implementation of the 1964 Civil Rights and 1965 Voting Rights Acts, which vastly expanded civil rights to include non-whites.

Children of South Asian descent since at the Karya Siddhi Hanuman temple in Frisco, Texas, August 2015.
Source: 
LM Otero/AP

But one group still feels left behind by the progress train: According to the Pew Research Center, 54% of white voters think life is worse for "people like them" today than it was 50 years ago. This despite that whites still surpass blacks and Hispanics by almost every achievement metric, including income, employment and wealth.

Screenshot from page 22.
Source: 
Pew Research Center

Go figure. Pew did not go into detail as to why so many whites felt this way, but it did highlight a few details: First, that voters with higher education levels were more likely to say things had improved for them, and second, that blacks and Hispanics both overwhelmingly stated life had gotten better (though Hispanics were more likely to respond in the negative).

Asians in the U.S. currently outpace whites in terms of educational attainment, employment and income rates.

Asians and Native Americans were, tellingly, not surveyed, which seems significant especially in the former case: In addition to seeing the steepest population growth of any group in recent years, Asians in the U.S. now outpace whites in terms of educational attainment, employment and income rates. 

Source: Matt York/AP

But what does it all mean? One might draw conclusions from the anger conservative whites have expressed toward American society today, symbolized by the movement bolstering Donald Trump, and united by the slogan, "make America great again," which hearkens to an era when white dominance went largely unchallenged.

Source: Mic/YouTube

One could also argue the wording is vague: "People like you" is a broad term, and may prompt different responses depending on how one most strongly self-identifies — whether that's in terms of race, class, sexual orientation or any other metric. 

Either way, the disproportionate rate of disaffection among whites speaks to a rapidly changing country, one where a range of factors, from racial tension to income inequality and the death of the American Dream, have given people a relatively bleak outlook on our current state of affairs.

Maybe we should all move to Canada and leave our American problems behind. Oh, wait.

h/t Pew Research Center

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Zak Cheney Rice

Zak is a Senior Staff Writer at Mic.

MORE FROM

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

Scaramucci once asked Obama if he’d be softer on Wall Street. It didn’t end well.

The exchange came during a CNBC town hall on the financial crisis, two years into Obama’s presidency.

Trump blasts Hilary Clinton, Comey and ‘Amazon Washington Post’ in tweet storm

He also defended Don Jr. and called Democrats "obstructionists" with "no ideas."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

Scaramucci once asked Obama if he’d be softer on Wall Street. It didn’t end well.

The exchange came during a CNBC town hall on the financial crisis, two years into Obama’s presidency.

Trump blasts Hilary Clinton, Comey and ‘Amazon Washington Post’ in tweet storm

He also defended Don Jr. and called Democrats "obstructionists" with "no ideas."