Large-scale protests and rallies for racial equality have captured public attention and amplified calls for policy reforms in recent weeks. Some 6% of U.S. adults say they have attended a protest or rally that focused on issues related to race or racial equality in the last month, and those who have are more likely to be nonwhite and younger than Americans overall, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. They are also more likely to live in an urban area and to identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party.
How we did this
Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand Americans’ participation in protests or rallies focused on issues related to race or racial equality. This analysis is based on 9,654 U.S. adults. Out of that group, the total number of adults who say they attended a protest is 615. The data was collected as a part of a larger survey conducted June 4-10, 2020. Everyone who took part is a member of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology.
Black Americans account for 17% of those who say they attended a protest focused on race or racial equality in the last month, compared with their 11% share of all adults in the survey. Hispanic Americans account for 22% of recent protest attendees, versus 15% of all adults. The difference is less pronounced but still statistically significant when it comes to the share of protesters who are Asian (8% vs. 5% of the adults surveyed). While 64% of U.S. adults are white, just 46% of those who said they attended a protest focused on race in the last month are white.
About four-in-ten (41%) of those who say they recently attended a protest focused on race are younger than 30; among all U.S. adults, 19% are in this age group. In turn, those ages 50 and older are underrepresented among the protesters, while those ages 30 to 49 represent a similar share of those who have attended a protest as they do of the adult population overall.
City dwellers, who represent 28% of the adults surveyed, make up 41% of those who say they have protested within the past month. Some 42% of people who participated in last month’s protests live in the suburbs (compared with 47% of all adults), and those who live in rural areas account for 17% of recent protesters, compared with 25% of the survey sample.
When it comes to political party affiliation, about eight-in-ten (79%) of those who say they participated in a protest or rally focused on race or racial equality in the last month identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while just 17% say they are Republican or Republican-leaning.
As is the case among the overall adult population, men and women each make up about half of those who say they attended a protest focused on race in the last month. Protesters also don’t differ considerably from the adult population in terms of income or educational attainment.