The FINANCIAL — How much do people feel that what happens to members of their own racial or ethnic group affects what happens in their own lives? What about what happens to other groups? Known among researchers as “linked fate,” this sense of connectedness was originally used to explain persistent Democratic voting bloc patterns among black Americans. More recently it has been used to examine not only how closely connected black Americans feel toward one another, but also connectedness between and among other racial groups.
A recent Pew Research Center survey finds that racial or ethnic group membership, education and partisanship are the most important determinants of linked fate within and across racial groups. For blacks and Hispanics specifically, experiences of discrimination increase the likelihood of saying that what happens to the other group would affect them.
When asked how much what happens to blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians in the United States affects their own lives, U.S. adults say that what happens to their own racial or ethnic group affects them the most. This is most pronounced among black adults: 44% in this group say that what happens to other blacks impacts their own lives a lot. And it is especially true for black adults with a bachelor’s degree or more education, 58% of whom say that what happens to other black people affects them a lot compared with 49% of those with some college and 33% with a high school diploma or less education. There are no gender or age differences among black people in this regard.
Conversely, only about a quarter of whites (23%) say that what happens to other white people in the country affects them a lot. This sense of linked fate with other whites does not vary by gender. However, whites under 30 (30%) are more likely than those ages 50 and older (20%) to say that their fate is closely linked to other white people. Education also matters among whites: Those with at least a bachelor’s degree (26%) have a stronger sense of linked fate to other white people than those with no more than a high school diploma (19%). Additionally, white Democrats and those who lean Democratic (28%) are more likely than white Republicans and Republican leaners (20%) to say what happens to other white people affects their own lives a lot.
Among Hispanics, about three-in-ten (28%) say that what happens to other Hispanic people in the U.S. impacts them a lot. This is more likely among Hispanics under 50 (31%) than among those 50 and older (21%). U.S.-born Hispanics (27%) are about as likely as those born outside the U.S. (29%) to express a sense of linked fate with other Hispanics. This sense also does not vary by gender or education.
Likewise, 28% of Asians say that what happens to other Asians in the U.S. affects what happens in their own life a lot. Due to sample limitations, the views of Asians couldn’t be analyzed separately by categories such as gender, age or education. (For more information, see “A note about the Asian sample.”)
BY KIANA COX