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Nationalism in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Nationalism in the United States is a tricky issue which has come to the forefront in recent years. Nationalism, which is a political system that puts one’s nation above all others, should be separated from patriotism, particularly as nationalism is often driven more by racial and ethnic superiority than a love of country. While patriotism can be seen in 69 percent of Americans reporting being either extremely or very proud to be an American, it should also be noted that 55 percent of people felt that white nationalism posed a very or somewhat serious threat to the country. Nationalism can be seen in many aspects of America today, from politics to the economy to right-wing extremism.

Nationalism and policy

Within the past few years, Americans have been moving towards a more isolationist foreign policy, with 49 percent of people believing that global economic engagement is a bad thing, and 46 percent of people believing that the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been detrimental to the U.S. economy. In an attempt to protect parts of the U.S. economy, steel and aluminum tariffs were imposed by the Trump administration in 2018, which the majority of Republicans supported. Although this measure was projected to save jobs in the steel and aluminum sector, the measure was also projected have a negative impact in other sectors in every state.

Immigration has also had a significant impact on the rise of nationalism in the United States, and even though 58 percent of people report being dissatisfied with the level of immigration to the U.S. in 2022, 75 percent say that immigration is a good thing for the country. Immigration policy has become a highly partisan issue, although illegal immigration to the U.S. is declining and the number of naturalizations has been holding steady.

Nationalism and extremism

With the rise of nationalism in the United States has also come a rise in hate groups and extremism. In 2021, there were an estimated 733 hate groups across the country; a significant increase from 1999 when there were 457 hate groups recorded nationwide. Additionally, the number of domestic extremist-related killings has fluctuated since 2014, reaching a peak with 78 killings in 2016. The vast majority of extremist-related killings in the United States are perpetrated by right-wing extremists, with 45 percent of the perpetrators being affiliated with white supremacy in 2021.

The rise of nationalism in the United States and around the world is a troubling development. It is difficult to see what the solution could be, especially since Americans tend not to have a great deal of confidence in organizations besides the military and small businesses. One sign of improvement is that 43 percent of Americans believe they will be better off in five years than they are now, which will hopefully help to push the country away from the more detrimental aspects of nationalism.


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