African Americans' Lives Today

African Americans report being satisfied with their lives in general, but many have economic and health concerns, and experience discrimination.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR, and the Harvard School of Public Health recently conducted a national survey examining African-Americans’ views on their personal and family lives, community, experiences of discrimination, and financial situations.

The findings show African Americans are generally satisfied with their lives and communities. However, large numbers report concerns about  economic stability and their resources to pay for a major illness. Many also report continued experiences of discrimination.

Key Findings:

  • Over 80 percent of African Americans say they are satisfied with their lives overall (86%) and their communities (82%).
  • Roughly half of employed (44%) and unemployed (41%) African Americans reported feeling very or somewhat concerned that they or someone in their household might be out of work and looking for a job in the next year; and almost half (45%) not confident they would have sufficient money or health insurance to pay for a major illness.
  • Over one-third (36%) report experiences of a negative event as a result of racism.
  • A majority (81%) report satisfaction with the health care services they or their family members have used; however, close to one-third (30%) of reported that they or a family member has had a serious problem affording doctor and hospital bills.
  • Over one-quarter (26%) of African Americans listed crime as the most important issue facing their community.


African Americans' Lives Today: Related Articles and Research

Race, Socioeconomic Factors and Health

The Commission to Build a Healthier America examines causes of racial and ethnic health disparities, and interventions showing a promising impact.

Read more

A Novel Look at Racial Health Disparities

Hypertension causes 15 deaths per 100,000 people for Whites, but 40 per 100,000 for Black men and 50 per 100,000 for Black women.

Read more