African Americans concern about the environment equal to or greater that of whites


-- African Americans are as likely as white Americans to belong to environmental groups. According to a 1993 national survey, ten percent of African Americans and whites belonged to an environmental group. In 2000, nine percent of whites and eight percent of African Americans belonged to an environmental group. However, rather than joining traditional environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club or the World Wildlife Fund, African Americans frequently form their own groups and mobilize on a grassroots level.

-- African Americans express significantly greater concern than whites about their local environment. According to Mohai, this correlates with the poorer environmental quality found in African American neighborhoods. Neighborhood environmental problems, such as high noise levels, abandoned houses, trash, litter, rats, roaches, or other pests were cited as among the most important environmental problems facing the country by 26 percent of African Americans surveyed, compared to only 3 percent of whites.

--African Americans in Congress have been among the strongest and most consistent supporters of environmental protection legislation over the past two decades. Average pro-environmental voting scores for African American members in the House of Representatives have ranged from about 75 percent to 85 percent, while for other House Democrats and for House Republicans average scores have ranged from about 60 percent to 80 percent and 20 percent to 40 percent, respectively.

"Environmental issues are not 'luxury' issues to African Americans," says Mohai. "Survey results such as these demonstrate that environmental quality issues are a priority on many different levels."


Contact: Lara Magouirk
University of Michigan

Page: 1 2

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