New Survey: 82% of Teens Think Racial Discrimination Will Be a Problem for Their Generation

Newsweek Releases "The State of the American Teenager" Survey 50 Years After Original Study

​Fifty years after publishing an issue entitled, “The Teen-Agers,” Newsweek, a premier weekly news magazine owned by IBT Mediatoday released a special issue revisiting the topic of teens. In the issue, available on newsstands next week and in a special section published online today, Newsweek shares results from a new survey, “The State of the American Teenager,” conducted in fall 2015 by Harris Poll on behalf of Newsweek that replicates key questions and expands upon the survey conducted for the original issue.

“Our team was going through the archives last year and spotted ‘The Teen-Agers’ issue and was shocked to see how much about teens had changed, but at the same time how much seemed to be the same,” said Jim Impoco, Editor in Chief of Newsweek. “We put that speculation to the test with our new survey and are excited to be using Newsweek’s deep-rooted history to shed light on critical issues for teens today.”

Highlights from the new survey in comparison to results from 1966:

Our team was going through the archives last year and spotted 'The Teen-Agers' issue and was shocked to see how much about teens had changed, but at the same time how much seemed to be the same.

Jim Impoco

Editor in Chief of Newsweek

·         In 1966, 44% of teens thought racial discrimination would still be a problem for their generation. Today, 82% of teens agree that racial discrimination will still be a problem for their generation.

·         In 1966, 96% of teens believed in God. In 2015, 83% believe in God or another divine being.

·         Twice as many teens today (24%) feel their parents try to run their lives too much, compared with teens in 1966 (12%).

·         Teens in 1966 and today agree that friends are the best part of school (38% of teens in 1966 and 32% of teens today).

·         The top five most admired people by teens in 1966 were John F. Kennedy (47% boys, 50% girls), Abraham Lincoln (22% boys, 16% girls), George Washington (10% boys, 5% girls), Lyndon B. Johnson (5% boys, 5% girls) and Helen Keller (2% boys, 8% girls). The top five most admired people today by teens are Barack Obama (13% boys, 8% girls), Taylor Swift (3% boys, 14% girls), Beyonce (2% boys, 11% girls), Selena Gomez (1% boys, 7% girls) and Abraham Lincoln (5% boys, 3% girls).

The new survey asked additional questions of today’s teens that were not covered by the original study. Highlights from those results include:

·         A little over two-thirds of teens today (68%) think the country is on the wrong track. About half say that the main problems confronting the country are the economy (56%), jobs (53%), terrorism (52%), healthcare (51%) and racial discrimination (49%).

·         Teens on national issues: marriage equality (62% support, 30% oppose); gun control (55% support, 32% oppose); death penalty (52% support, 29% oppose) and abortion rights (50% support, 34% oppose).

·         59% of teens agree that pop culture keeps the country from talking about news stories that really matter.

·         While 90% plan on going to college, 60% agree that a college degree is worth going into debt.

For Newsweek’s special online section about teens, visit For the full results from “The State of the American Teenager” survey, visit For more information about Newsweek, visit: or

About Newsweek

Newsweek is a premier news magazine and website, bringing high-quality journalism to readers around the globe for over 80 years. Newsweek provides the latest news, in-depth analysis and ideas about international issues, technology, business, culture and politics. In addition to its online and mobile presence, Newsweek publishes weekly English print editions in the United States, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia as well as editions in Japanese, Korean, Polish, Serbian, Spanish and Czech. Newsweek is owned by IBT Media. For more information, visit: or


The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Newsweek within the United States from October 21 to November 11, 2015 among 2,057 teens ages 13-17. The data were weighted by age by gender, parents’ highest education, region, race/ethnicity, and school location to be nationally representative. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Source: Newsweek

Categories: Publishing and Printing, Media and News, Culture

Additional Images