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American passion: National pride remains at near record low

By Lee Cleveland - July 2, 2023

The level of extreme pride among Americans in being American has remained stagnant, hovering near a record low. According to Gallup, only 39% of U.S. adults express extreme pride in their American identity, which is almost unchanged from the previous year’s record low of 38%.

When considering those who are either extremely or “very proud,” the combined percentage stands at 67%, aligning with the historically subdued reading of 65% observed a year ago.

On the other hand, 22% of U.S. adults state that they are moderately proud, while 7% admit to feeling only a little proud, and 4% claim to have no pride at all in being American.

Historical Perspective

When Gallup first posed this question in January 2001, 55% of U.S. adults responded that they were extremely proud to be American. However, following the tragic events of 9/11, national pride surged, with extreme pride levels ranging from 65% to 70% between 2002 and 2004.

Since then, the percentage of Americans expressing extreme pride has experienced a decline, with the exception of a few years, and it has remained below the majority level since 2018, averaging 42%.

In terms of the combined percentages of individuals stating they are extremely or very proud, the early years of the trend saw nearly nine out of ten Americans expressing high levels of pride, reaching as high as 90%. However, beginning in 2005, this figure began to decline into the 80% range, dropping further to 75% in 2017, and consistently staying below 70% since 2020.

Demographic Differences in National Pride

Among various demographic factors, political party affiliation plays a significant role in shaping expressions of national pride. Throughout the trend, Republicans have consistently shown higher levels of pride in being American compared to Democrats and independents. This partisan gap has been particularly noticeable since 2018, with more than twice as many Republicans as Democrats expressing extreme pride. Republicans are also almost twice as likely as independents to express the highest degree of pride.

According to the latest Gallup poll conducted from June 1-22, 60% of Republicans and 29% of Democrats report extreme pride in being American.

These figures remain statistically similar to last year’s readings. Furthermore, the current 33% extreme pride among independents is essentially unchanged, but it represents their lowest recorded level, differing by just one percentage point.

In addition to political affiliation, age also appears to play a significant role in shaping Americans’ national pride.

While 50% of U.S. adults aged 55 and older express extreme pride in being American, only 40% of those aged 35 to 54 and a mere 18% of individuals aged 18 to 34 feel the same level of pride.

Analyzing aggregated data from 2020 to 2023, it becomes evident that younger adults across all party groups express significantly lower levels of pride compared to older adults within the same political persuasion.

Bottom Line

Although the percentage of U.S. adults expressing extreme pride in being American remains near a record low, when combining the share of those who are very proud, approximately two-thirds of Americans still express national pride. Notably, the disparity in national pride remains most distinct among different political parties, with Republicans displaying higher levels of pride compared to Democrats.

However, age also plays a significant role, with younger adults in all party groups expressing lower levels of pride than their older counterparts.