The Public Religion Research Institute has released results from a new poll on what real Americans think it takes for someone to be considered a real American. The main poll question about what it takes to be considered a real American was pretty straight forward: “How important are each of the following for being truly American?” On that question respondents were asked to respond to four subquestions, and rate whether they think this qualification of being a real American is very important, somewhat important, not too important, not at all important, or don’t know/refused. The subquestions of what it takes to be a real American included the following: (1) Being able to speak English, (2) believing in God, (3) being born in America, and (4) being a Christian.
Here’s how real Americans responded on what it means to be a real American:
Here’s the results (broken down) from the Public Religion Research Institute‘s poll:
More than six in ten (62%) Americans believe that God has granted America a special role in human history, while roughly one-third (33%) disagree. Views have not shifted significantly in recent years. In 2012, an identical number of Americans (62%) agreed that the U.S. was granted a special role in human history. There are sharp differences on this question by political ideology and religious affiliation. Conservatives are nearly twice as likely as liberals to agree that God has granted the U.S. a special role in human history—80% of conservatives and only 45% of liberals agree with this statement. Half (50%) of liberals reject the notion that the country has a divinely sanctioned role in human history.
More than any other quality, Americans think that speaking English is an essential part of being American: roughly nine in ten (89%) Americans say that speaking English is important to being “truly” American, including roughly two-thirds (66%) who say it is very important. A strong majority (69%) of Americans also say that believing in God is an important component of being a true American. Americans also value native citizenship when considering what it takes to be an American: roughly six in ten (58%) say that being born in the U.S. is an important part of being American. Americans are more divided on the importance of being Christian: a majority (53%) of the public say that being a Christian is an important part of being truly American, while 43% say this is not too or not at all important
Younger and older Americans disagree sharply over what is most important to being American. Roughly two-thirds (66%) of seniors (age 65 and older) say that being a Christian is an important part of being American, while only about one-third (35%) of young adults (age 18-29) agree. There is also a substantial generational gap on the importance of being born in the U.S. Two-thirds (67%) of seniors say that being born in the U.S. is important, but fewer than half (45%) of younger Americans say the same. Older Americans are also more likely to say that believing in God is critical to being American. More than three-quarters (77%) of seniors say believing in God is important. Young adults are much more closely divided: 52% say that believing in God is an important part of being American, while nearly as many (45%) say this is not important. But both seniors and young adults agree on one thing: the importance of being able to speak English: 96% and 81%, respectively, say speaking English is an important part of being American.
Btw, if you’re in the business of being a REAL AMERICAN, might I suggest this badass 4th of July tank for you? Because if you truly are a real American you’ll stop what you’re doing an BUY IT NOW:
So old people believe in God, and think that believing in God is an integral part of being an American. Millennials are very divided on this issue. Just about every American thinks that speaking English is the most integral part of being an American, which I suppose makes sense because our citizenship test requires English. It is odd though, because we do not have an official country language. Methinks that might change in the coming decades if this poll is any indication.
For more on what it means to be a real American you can follow the link above! Or click on over to The Washington Post’s Wonkblog for more analysis.