Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Four more years

In a recent post, I referred to a post on changes in response to the question "What do you think the chances are these days that a white person won't get a job or promotion while an equally or less qualified black person gets one instead? Is this very likely, somewhat likely, or not very likely to happen these days?" It occurred to me that the post was from 2013 and the question is from the General Social Survey, which is conducted in even-numbered years.   So now data from 2014 and 2016 are also available, and a lot has happened in those years.

There are three possible responses:  very likely, somewhat likely, and not very likely.  The figure shows a summary measure of opinions (among whites--I also tried limiting it to non-Hispanic whites but it was about the same) since the question was first asked in 1990, plus upper and lower bounds of the 95% confidence interval--higher numbers mean less likely.

Opinions have moved steadily in the direction of seeing less chance that whites lose out to blacks--the correlation between year and the summary measure is over 0.9.  In 1990, about 28% said "very likely" and 30% "not very likely"; in 2016 13% said "very likely" and 39% "not very likely."

The movement has not been completely uniform--there was clearly a shift towards seeing it as more likely in 1994, and probably in 2002 and 2006 as well.  But the movement from 2008-16 was right on the trend, despite the election of a black president, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Trump campaign.


  1. I assume the percentage of respondents who are white has been falling during this period. What is the tread among white respondents?

  2. I'm glad you noticed this--I forgot to mention that the figure is for whites only, and have revised the post.