This study presents the findings of a survey of non-Hispanic, African Americans/Blacks ages 50 and older regarding several key areas of social and community involvement, including:
- Their perceived level of influence in making a difference on problems that exist in their community.
- The number of groups and organizations to which they belong.
- Their level of involvement in civic and community activities.
- The frequency with which they vote in Presidential and local elections.
- Their rate of volunteering—for organizations and/or on their own.
- Their rate of charitable giving.
- Demographic and other factors that influence their level of civic engagement.
Key findings include the following:
- Civic engagement among African Americans/Blacks ages 50 and older has held fairly steady since 2009.
- Top predictors of civic engagement among African Americans/Blacks ages 50 and older are household income and education level.
- The percentage of 50+ African Americans/Blacks (36%) who feel they have a lot or moderate amount of influence on community problems declined by six percentage points from 2009 (42%).
- Religious organizations are the most-often cited organizations to which African Americans/Blacks ages 50 and older belong; but have declined since 2009 (i.e., from 69% to 61%).
This national address-based telephone survey of 714 non-Hispanic African Americans/Blacks ages 50 and older was conducted in August 2015 by AARP’s research partner (SSI) as part of AARP’s Attitude, Trend & Opinion Monitor (ATOM). Interviews were 20 minutes in length on average and data were weighted by age, gender and other key characteristics. For more information contact Alicia Williams at ARWilliams@aarp.org.
Williams, Alicia R. Connecting, Serving and Giving: Civic Engagement among Mid-Life and Older African American/Black Adults. Washington, DC: AARP Research, November 2016. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00135.001