How Black Americans Define Success

How Black Americans Define Success

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More than 60% of blacks in the United States say that being debt-free and having enough money to do what you want are key indicators of financial success.


New York
CNN

A majority of black Americans say they feel at least somewhat successful but feel financial pressure regardless of their income, according to a new Pew Research Center survey released Thursday.

More than 4,700 black Americans were surveyed views of what constitutes success – how they define it, how they see themselves in this context, and their concerns about achieving it.

Pew researchers wrote in their analysis that “A majority (66%) of black Americans consider themselves to be at least somewhat successful.

They noted that a quarter of people surveyed (26%) described themselves as “extremely” or “very successful.” Those with the highest income would fall into this category.

When asked what is important to feel successful, the majority of respondents said the ability to provide for their family (82%); to be happy (80%); having enough time to do what they want (65%); having a job or career they love (56%); owning their own home (52%) and using their talents and resources to help others (50%).

When asked to specifically define financial success, most chose being “debt free” (67%) and having enough money to do what they want (65%) was “important.” Just under half (49%) chose “owning a home.”

More than two-fifths chose to transfer financial assets to the next generation (44%); and having multiple income streams (43%).

Meanwhile, 35% chose to “retire early” and 22% “have a job.”

In terms of gender, Pew noted, “Black women are more likely than black men to be debt-free, transfer financial assets, and be able to retire early to their personal definition of financial success.”

And there are differences by income. “Black seniors with low household incomes are more likely than those with middle or higher incomes to say being debt free and owning a business is important.”

What it takes to succeed: College degrees and mentors matter less than confidence

The survey respondents selected a number of factors that, in their opinion, make success possible. Self-confidence (79%) and financial stability (75%) topped the list.

“Fewer people see personal relationships as playing a significant role in success,” the Pew researchers said.

A small majority (54%) said having supportive family members is essential, and even fewer said relationships (41%) or mentors (39%) were important. Only 20% identified as having a college degree.

The majority of respondents (54%) said they worry about one or more financial problems almost every day: paying off debt (31%); the amount of their debt (29%); ability to save enough for retirement (28%); being able to get enough food (24%); ability to pay rent or mortgage (23%); and healthcare costs (22%).

And regardless of income, most blacks said they felt financial pressure.

For example, 64% of high-income respondents and 70% of low-income respondents said they felt pressure to provide for their families, while 50% of high-income respondents and 53% of low-income respondents felt pressure to own. their own homes.

However, there were notable differences between income groups when it came to emergency savings. In total, 28% of respondents said that they would not be able to cover their expenses within three months if they lost their main income. But low-income earners (41%) say more than five times more than high-income earners (7%). Less than a fifth (18%) of middle-income earners said the same.

A higher salary can certainly make it easier to put aside emergency savings. In an analysis of black American incomes in July, Pew noted that only 6% of black adults in the U.S. earned $100,000 or more in 2021. they think they will reach that level of income in the future.

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