On the precipice of a "majority-minority" America: perceived status threat from the racial demographic shift affects White Americans' political ideology

Psychol Sci. 2014 Jun;25(6):1189-97. doi: 10.1177/0956797614527113. Epub 2014 Apr 3.


The U.S. Census Bureau projects that racial minority groups will make up a majority of the U.S. national population in 2042, effectively creating a so-called majority-minority nation. In four experiments, we explored how salience of such racial demographic shifts affects White Americans' political-party leanings and expressed political ideology. Study 1 revealed that making California's majority-minority shift salient led politically unaffiliated White Americans to lean more toward the Republican Party and express greater political conservatism. Studies 2, 3a, and 3b revealed that making the changing national racial demographics salient led White Americans (regardless of political affiliation) to endorse conservative policy positions more strongly. Moreover, the results implicate group-status threat as the mechanism underlying these effects. Taken together, this work suggests that the increasing diversity of the nation may engender a widening partisan divide.

Keywords: conservative shift; demographic changes; political conservatism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Demography / trends
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Perception / physiology
  • Politics*
  • United States / ethnology
  • White People / psychology*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data