Two-thirds of Americans don’t believe they’ll see positive social change during their lifetime, according to new research.
The survey of 2,000 general population Americans revealed that 67% are not optimistic about seeing changes occur, but they still want to leave a better world for the next generation.
When asked which social issues they currently find to be the most important, health care (43%) topped the list, followed closely by gun violence (41%).
Rounding out the top five were racial injustice and domestic violence (tied for third, at 39%) and poverty and homelessness (38%). It’s worth noting that the top five issues respondents identified are all within 5% of each other, showing that many of these challenging issues are viewed with an almost equal level of importance.
These issues can fluctuate, too: 64% said current events, and those shown on the news, can change which issues they find to be the most important.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Avocado Green Mattress, the survey coincided with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — and 66% said reproductive rights are currently a higher priority for them.
That’s not the only current event affecting which issues people find the most important: 59% said gun violence is a higher priority for them because of recent shootings, while 43% said they’re paying more attention to LGBTQ+ rights because June was Pride Month — this may also be due to legislative changes at the state level.
The survey not only asked which social issues respondents find most important, but it also looked at the actions they’re taking to help affect change.
Over half (57%) do believe their actions can truly affect social change, and 73% said that when it comes to creating change, small actions are just as important as big actions.
“These issues are big and daunting, with no easy solutions,” said Mark Abrials, Avocado Green Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “But we also know that our collective individual, small actions can add up to a really big positive impact.”
Fifty-one percent of respondents said they’re actively taking action to help create social change — while another 25% would like to.
When asked what actions they’re taking, 45% are boycotting brands or companies who donate to groups and/or support legislation they disagree with.
The same number (45%) are ensuring when they vote, the candidates they support are people who align with their ideals, while others (43%) are standing up for social issues they believe in by calling out loved ones when they say things respondents disagree with.
Respondents are also taking action by voting and by educating themselves on these issues (tied at 42%).
Even then, 72% believe that to create real social change, we need more than just individuals involved in the process — those respondents believe we also need involvement from the federal government (58%), local governments (57%) and local action groups (55%).
“We know what’s on the line, and that we all must do our part,” said Abrials. “That’s why we believe our business should be a force for good. We want people to care and get involved by becoming educated on issues, challenging misconceptions, supporting brands that champion their values, and, above all, by voting and calling their elected officials.”
WHICH SOCIAL ISSUES DO RESPONDENTS FIND TO BE THE MOST IMPORTANT?
Health care — 43%
Gun violence — 41%
Racial injustice — 39% (tied)
Domestic violence — 39% (tied)
Poverty and homelessness — 38%
Voting rights — 38%
Civil rights — 38%
Reproductive rights (abortion, birth control, etc.) — 37%
Climate change — 37%
Immigration — 36%
Gender inequality — 35%
Wealth inequality — 35%
LGBTQ+ rights — 33%
TOP 10 ACTIONS RESPONDENTS ARE TAKING TO HELP AFFECT SOCIAL CHANGE
Boycotting brands/companies who donate to groups and/or support legislation they disagree with — 45%
Ensuring the candidates they vote for are aligned with their ideals — 45%
Calling out loved ones when they say things respondents disagree with (ex. homophobic friends) — 43%
Voting — 42% (tied)
Educating themselves on these issues — 42% (tied)
Using social media to discuss issues — 39%
Donating money — 38%
Signing petitions — 38%
Attending rallies and/or protests — 36%
Volunteering with affected groups — 35%