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EXCLUSIVE POLL: More Than 50% of African-Americans Are ‘Very Concerned’ About Paying for Basic Necessities

WASHINGTON — America is experiencing a booming economy and record unemployment, but not everyone is feeling it. Large majorities of both African-Americans and Hispanics say they’re worried about job security, housing, and being able to pay for education and basic necessities, according to a VICE News-Ipsos poll focused on African-Americans and Hispanics. A majority of…

EXCLUSIVE POLL: More Than 50% of African-Americans Are ‘Very Concerned’ About Paying for Basic Necessities

WASHINGTON — America is experiencing a booming economy and record unemployment, but not everyone is feeling it.

Large majorities of both African-Americans and Hispanics say they’re worried about job security, housing, and being able to pay for education and basic necessities, according to a VICE News-Ipsos poll focused on African-Americans and Hispanics.

A majority of African-Americans say they’re “very concerned” about being able to afford housing (57%) and food and household necessities (54%). That’s much higher than the 34% of non-Hispanic white Americans who said they were “very concerned” about those things.

Nearly half of African-Americans (49%) and 43% of Hispanics are “very concerned” about job security for people in their households, compared to 27% of white Americans. Just under half of Hispanics say they’re “very concerned” about affording housing (49%) and affording food and household necessities (45%).

Large numbers of white people also say they’re feeling squeezed economically — at least half of white respondents said they’re also concerned about being able to afford every category we asked about except higher education. But the level and depth of their concerns isn’t nearly as high across a number of measures as blacks and Hispanics.

READ: Just as many African-Americans say they’d consider voting for Bernie Sanders as Joe Biden

The poll results show how ongoing economic inequality between racial and ethnic groups continues to drive much higher levels of financial anxiety in black and brown communities even as unemployment rates have reached historic lows in both groups.

“Despite the ongoing economic expansion, Americans — particularly minority Americans — are still very anxious about their economic security,” said Chris Jackson, public poll lead at Ipsos. “With large majorities of Americans concerned about affording healthcare, housing, or basic necessities, it is clear that the boom has not translated to stability for most folks.”

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These numbers come from an online poll conducted by Ipsos for VICE News that includes extensive questions about what issues African-Americans and Hispanic Americans care about the most ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The study included questions on climate change, immigration, healthcare, the economy, LGBTQ rights, criminal justice, and reparations. The full polling memo can be read here.

VICE News is presenting the 2020 Iowa Brown & Black Forum, the nation’s oldest nonpartisan presidential forum dedicated exclusively to addressing issues facing communities of color, on Monday, Jan. 20 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We’ll be asking the 2020 candidates about these issues then.

Here are some other major standouts from our extensive polling.

African-Americans say racism is the biggest threat facing the country

Even with their high levels of economic concerns, African-Americans still see racism as the biggest threat facing the country.

A full 50% of African-Americans say racism is one of the “main problems facing the country right now.” That’s a substantially higher number than any other issue — and much higher than the number of white and Hispanic Americans who said racism is a main problem facing the country.

Only 19% of white Americans and 30% of Hispanics said racism was one of the main problems facing the country right now.

Whites and Hispanics say they worry most about healthcare

Americans’ top issue overall in the poll was healthcare costs, with 49% of all poll respondents listing it as one of the top three problems facing the country.

But it’s a bigger relative worry by far for white respondents than other groups: 57% of white poll respondents say it’s a main problem facing the country, compared to 30% of African-Americans and 39% of Hispanics.

Hispanics also picked it as their top issue. Racism tops the list of concerns for African-Americans, while healthcare came in second at 30% and 29% said an unfair criminal justice system was a top problem.

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After healthcare, Hispanics list global warming (33%) as their next-biggest issue, with 31% saying illegal immigration is a main problem facing the country. African-Americans see “an unfair criminal justice system” as their next biggest concern behind racism and healthcare costs.

While healthcare was by far the top issue for white Americans, 37% said drug and opioid abuse was a main problem facing the country, 36% picked illegal immigration, and 33% picked global warming and climate change.

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