Facts & Figures

  • Black Americans Don't Trust Their Tap Water
  • A College-Educated Party?
  • Changing Politics of Young Men and Women

Black Americans Don’t Trust Their Tap Water A storm and flooding in Mississippi has left tens of thousands of black residents without clean water. As a new water crisis gains national attention polling reveals a chronic crisis in confidence among black Americans when it comes to their water supply. Nationally, nearly seven in ten Black Americans say they would be uncomfortable drinking unfiltered tap water in their home. Among white Americans only 37 percent report they would be uncomfortable doing this. The racial disparity reflects existing inequities in public infrastructure. This is more than just a public health story, a recent post in American Storylines documents how ongoing infrastructure woes seriously undermine public confidence in local government.

A College-Educated Party? The Democratic Party has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last two decades. Nearly half (48 percent) of Democrats today have a four-year college degree, a dramatic increase since the last 1990s when only about one in four had a college education. Much of this change is the result of the growing number of college-educated women who identify as Democrat. In the late nineties, only 13 percent of Democrats were college-educated women, but they make up 28 percent of the party today. In contrast, the educational profile of Republicans has changed little over the last two decades. In the late 1990s, three in ten Republicans had a college education, while roughly as many (31 percent) have a college education today.

Changing Politics of Young Men and Women. For much of the past two decades, young women and men have had similar political profiles. But the ideological differences between them grew rapidly over the past few years as young women became increasingly liberal. In 2021, 44 percent of young women consider themselves liberal, compared to only one quarter (25 percent) of young men, a nearly 20-point gender gap. A decade earlier, roughly similar numbers of young men (27 percent) and young women (30 percent) identified as liberal. These changes are also reflected in the diverging views about societal change. Young women stand out for their support for changing social norms in American society, including more women serving in the military, more children having gay or lesbian parents, and more men staying home with children. There are a few possible explanations for the expanding gender divide between young men and women. The growing disparity in educational attainmentdistinct approaches to gender identity and sexual preferences, and even the visceral dislike of Donald Trump may contribute to the rapidly changing political orientations between the two groups.

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