A new survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) finds that 61% of Americans experience day-to-day discrimination, including being treated with a lack of courtesy or respect, receiving poorer service than others, and being threatened or harassed.


The APA surveyed 3,361 adults last summer with the help of Harris polling for its 2015 Stress in America survey. They found that 47% of adults have experienced "major forms of discrimination," like police unfairly stopping, searching, questioning, physically threatening, or abusing them; neighbors making life difficult for them or their family upon moving into a neighborhood; a teacher or advisor discouraging them from continuing their education; or experiencing unfair treatment when receiving health care.

“It’s clear that discrimination is widespread and impacts many people, whether it is due to race, ethnicity, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation,” Jaime Diaz-Granados, PhD, APA’s executive director for education, said in a release. “And when people frequently experience unfair treatment, it can contribute to increased stress and poorer health.”


This chart shows reported levels of everyday discrimination by ethnicity:

discrimination rates
Fusion, data via APA

The survey also found:

  • 39% of black men said police have unfairly stopped, searched, questioned, physically threatened or abused them.
  • 35% of Asian men said they believed they had been unfairly denied a promotion
  • 33% of adults who are LGBT said they had been unfairly denied a job
  • 69% of adults have experienced any form of discrimination

Hispanic and Black adults (31% and 29%, respectively) are most likely to say they feel a need to take care with their appearance to get good service or avoid harassment. Many adults also report trying to prepare for possible insults from other people before leaving home (25% of AI/AN, 23% of Blacks, 21% of Hispanics and 15% of Asians and Whites).


Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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