Democrats Discuss Race Issues Among Friends, Family More Often Than Republicans, Survey Finds

A majority of Democrat-leaning Americans say race or racial issues come up in conversation with family and friends compared to significantly fewer Republican-leaning U.S. adults who say race relations are commonly discussed, a new survey finds.

Political party affiliation is tied to how frequently Americans talk about race, although being a conservative or liberal leaning voter has very little influence about how comfortable adults are with discussing race issues, according to a Pew Research Center trends survey released Tuesday. About six-in-ten Democrat-leaning U.S. adults said race sometimes or often comes up in casual conversations among friends and family. About 15 percent fewer Republican-leaning counterparts (45 percent) said racial topics are commonly discussed in their day-to-day lives.

Black Americans were more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to report that race topics come up frequently in conversations, nearly double the amount of white and Hispanic adults who said the same. When asked if they were comfortable having conversations about race with friends or family 77 percent of black Americans said they are generally very or somewhat comfortable discussing race, compared to 74 percent of white Americans, 70 percent of Asian Americans and 62 percent of Hispanic Americans respectively.

The 2019 Pew Research Center survey of 6,637 U.S. adults found black and Asian adults were most likely to say race or race relations topics come up at least sometimes with friends and family.

Hispanic adults were the least comfortable discussing race issues with friends and family, although a solid majority (62 percent) said they are fine with the topic. But about four-in-ten Hispanics said they feel at least somewhat uncomfortable when race comes up in conversations.

race issues friends democrats republicans
Discussions of race or racial issues come up in conversation more frequently among Democrat-leaning Americans than their Republican counterparts, a new survey finds. Reza/Getty Images

Regardless of race or ethnicity, U.S. adults with bachelor's degrees or higher levels of education are more likely to discuss race with friends and family members than their less educated counterparts.

Black and Hispanic adults who graduated with bachelor's degrees are more likely than white graduates to discuss race with frequency among friends and family.

The Pew survey notes "there are no meaningful differences in comfort level" based on gender lines or between Republicans and Democrats when race comes up in discussions.

However, discussion of race or race issues does vary with age, with older white Americans bringing up such topics less than their younger Caucasian counterparts. White respondents were also most likely to say discussions of race only come up when in the company of other white people. By comparison, fewer than half of black, Hispanic and Asian people surveyed said race discussions typically occur among other people who are of the same race or ethnicity.