The American belief that the United States is better than other countries has declined and is now on a par with countries in Western Europe. Less than 50 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, “Our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior to others,” a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project
The survey found that 49 percent of Americans agreed with the statement and 46 percent disagreed, figures close to those found in Germany where 47 percent agreed with the statement and Spain where 44 percent agreed. In Britain, the number was 32 percent and France was at 27 percent.
“While opinions about cultural superiority have remained relatively stable over the years in the four Western European countries surveyed, Americans are now far less likely to say that their culture is better than others; six-in-ten Americans held this belief in 2002 and 55 percent did so in 2007,” Pew reported. “Belief in cultural superiority has declined among Americans across age, gender and education groups.
“As in past surveys, older Americans remain far more inclined than younger ones to believe that their culture is better than others. Six-in-ten Americans ages 50 or older share this view, while 34 percent disagree; those younger than 30 hold the opposite view, with just 37 percent saying American culture is superior and 61 percent saying it is not. Opinions are more divided among those ages 30 to 49; 44 percent in this group see American culture as superior and 50 percent do not.”
Regardless, there are still key differences between Americans and Europeans.
“Most notably, Americans are more individualistic and are less supportive of a strong safety net than are the publics of Britain, France, Germany and Spain,” Pew reported. “Americans are also considerably more religious than Western Europeans, and are more socially conservative with respect to homosexuality.”
When asked if homosexuality should be accepted, 91 percent of those in Spain agreed, as did 87 percent of Germans, 86 percent of French and 81 percent of the British. In the United States, 60 percent agreed.
“Acceptance of homosexuality has increased in recent years, and the shift is especially notable in the U.S., where only slightly more said it should be accepted (49%) than said it should be rejected (41%) in 2007. Today, more Americans accept homosexuality than reject it by a 27-percentage point margin.”
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