Friday, August 30, 2013

Rural residents less likely than urban ones or suburbanites to believe blacks are treated unfairly

Rural residents are less likely than their urban counterparts to believe African Americans in their communities are treated more unfairly than white people, according to a study by the Pew Research Center, Eileen Patten reports for the organization. The study consisted of a survey that asked participants of all races how black people are treated relative to whites in urban, rural and suburban settings, by the police, the court system, at work, in stores and restaurants, schools, and when it comes to health care and voting. Numbers in every category were lower in rural areas than urban and suburban ones.

Regional location wasn't much of a factor in responses, though those in the South are more likely than those in the Northeast to say that none of their community institutions treat blacks less fairly than whites, at 53 percent vs. 43 percent, Patten writes. The survey had 376 black respondents and 1,471 whites, with 750 from urban areas, 637 from suburbs and 460 from rural areas. That gave the rural sample a statistical error margin of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points; the urban sample's margin of error is plus or minus 3.6 points.

"The gap in perceptions between urban and rural residents is widest when it comes to the treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system," Patten reports. Half of urban residents said blacks are treated worse than whites by police, while 44 percent in suburbs thought so, but only 30 percent in rural areas did. Numbers were similar when it came to courts. (Click on charts for larger versions)

When all seven items are combined into one measure, 52 percent of rural residents "say none of these institutions treat blacks less fairly than whites in their community, compared with 42 percent of suburbanites" and 33 percent of urbanites, Patten writes. "And while similar shares of urbanites and suburbanites see disparities in the treatment of blacks in at least four of these institutions, the share of rural residents who say this is much smaller." (Read more)

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