New Report Shows Most Americans Believe Discrimination is a Serious Problem

According to the Public Affairs Council, strong majorities of Americans are concerned about all forms of discrimination — whether it’s based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender, disability, religion, or age. A new survey shows that the problem of racial discrimination is considered the most serious discrimination challenge the country faces, followed by gender identity (transgender) discrimination.

Attitudes about discrimination vary sharply based on political party, age, gender and other factors.

The results come from the 2016 Public Affairs Pulse survey, a telephone poll of 1,000 Americans conducted Sept. 12–17 by Public Opinion Strategies and sponsored by the Public Affairs Council.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans believe racial discrimination is at least a serious problem and 37 percent say it is a very serious problem. Similar percentages call gender identity discrimination at least serious (67%) or very serious (37%).

Differences Between Political Parties
Republicans, on balance, are less likely than Democrats and Independents to see discrimination across these seven areas as serious problems. The largest differences between Republicans and Democrats show up in attitudes about gender identity discrimination (46 percent of Republicans versus 84 percent of Democrats view the matter to be serious) and sexual orientation (45 percent of Republicans versus 79 percent of Democrats say this is a serious problem). The smallest difference in attitudes relates to religious discrimination (52 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats call this issue serious).

Many Business Anti-Discrimination Efforts Go Unnoticed
Major companies receive little credit for their efforts to reduce discrimination. One in three Americans (34%) think corporations have played a positive role in reducing discrimination of people with disabilities, and slightly lower percentages recognize business efforts to reduce discrimination by gender (28%), race (27%) and sexual orientation (26%). For discrimination by gender identity, religion and age, more Americans feel companies have played a negative role than positive role.

If major companies were to take steps to prevent discrimination based on any of these factors, most Americans say they would view these efforts favorably.

For full survey results and methodology, visit