Only 52 percent of U.S. adults say they are “extremely proud” to be Americans in the latest Gallup poll, representing a new low in the question’s 16-year trend.
As Americans prepare to celebrate Independence Day, the Gallup analysis said that the declining patriotism is “likely related to broader dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S.”
“The vast majority of U.S. adults indicate they are at least moderately proud to be Americans, but as they celebrate the Fourth of July this year, fewer say they are extremely proud than at any point in the last 16 years,” said the poll’s analysis.
“Americans’ continued frustration with national conditions — likely tied to their concern about the economy and lack of faith in public institutions — is probably one reason patriotism is at a recent low point,” said the poll released Friday.
American patriotism has been on the decline since shortly after 9/11, peaking at 70 percent in 2003.
“Americans’ patriotism stayed relatively flat from 2006 through 2013, a period that spanned the Great Recession and Barack Obama’s election and first term as president,” said the analysis. “But over the last three years, Americans’ willingness to say they are extremely proud to be an American has declined further.”
The patriotism percentage correlates roughly with satisfaction levels. In January 2004, 55 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with “the way things were going in the U.S.,” and 69 percent were “extremely proud” to be an American.
“That was the last time satisfaction has been at the majority level,” said the analysis.
The least patriotic are liberals and young adults. Only 34 percent of young adults and 36 percent of liberals said they were “extremely proud” to be Americans in the survey.
The most patriotic were Republicans, with 68 percent saying they were extremely proud to be Americans, and conservatives, at 61 percent.
Patriotism levels among Democrats and independents were roughly equal. The survey found 45 percent of Democrats were extremely proud to be Americans, along with 44 percent of independents.
“As a result of Republicans’ still-elevated percentage, the 23-percentage point Republican-Democratic gap in patriotism is now roughly double what it was in January 2001,” said the Gallup analysis.
The most patriotic of the age groups were those ages 50 to 64, about two-thirds of whom called themselves extremely proud to be Americans.
Although every age group saw declines from 2003, the group witnessing the largest slide was the 18- to 29-year-old cohort, an indication that patriotism levels may continue to decline as the millennial generation grows older.
“[T]he trends in patriotism among young adults could be evidence that those in the millennial generation are less patriotic than young adults in generations that preceded them,” said the analysis. “And that generational change may help explain why there has been further decline in patriotism among all U.S. adults over the last three years.”
In terms of race, 54 percent of whites called themselves extremely proud to be Americans, as opposed to 45 percent of nonwhites.
The polling was based on telephone interviews — 60 percent cellphones and 40 percent landlines — conducted from June 14 to June 23 with a random sample of 1,025 adults 18 and older. Respondents live in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points, with a 95 percent confidence level.