PUBLIC OPINION > Americans Are Ruder Than They Used to Be

Living 2012/03/20 16:00:00
A recent NPR report suggests that Americans are getting ruder, and to back that claim, points out the diminishing use of formal phrases like "please" and "thank you." Most of the people they talked to agree it's a troubling trend, but to be fair, most of the people they asked were high-ups at etiquette institutes. We wanted to find out what the public thinks and, more importantly, how it breaks down.

There were a handful of people who still had faith in good old-fashioned American kindness, but the final tally was overwhelming. Americans are getting ruder. A recent Rasmussen poll asked a similar question, and they found 76% of people thought Americans were "becoming more rude," solidifying the sentiment. But many respondents suggest it might not be a recent development, or even a national one. One commenter wrote, "I still call people "sir" and "ma'am", but now it gets as many weird looks as smiles. On the other hand, it's not new! You can easily find older articles and references to declining courtesy." But on to the good part.

Canada Can't Stand Us

We immediately jumped on the international vote to find out if other countries were more critical or forgiving. Turns out non-American voters were a little more critical, but not much. Although, the American vote was already pretty high, so it would have had to be nearly unanimous to increase by more. Canadians were even more critical, and in the U.K. it really was unanimous.

Kindness in California

Next, we scoped out the state-by-state. To get accurate results, we could only analyze states with large volumes of voters. A very high percentage of New Yorkers think Americans are getting ruder (89%), while a relatively low number of Californians did (65%). When we combined "the South" (14 states from Texas to the Virginias), the result was about 76%, the same as Texas by itself.

Abandoned Hope

If the youngest generation thinks Americans are getting ruder, we really are in a tight spot. They were actually the least encouraging age demographic (except for a random spike in the 45-54 group), averaging 16% more than older respondents. On the other hand, maybe they'll take it upon themselves to fix the problem.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about rudeness in America. We'd love to hear from you!
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  • mac9 2012/09/07 15:57:47
    Since Obama's election I would say yes.
  • LindaM 2012/04/26 14:05:16
    Yes, rarely do you see a smile. You say hello and they grunt, if your lucky.
  • BUD LITE 2012/03/29 06:43:01
    Especially Black people !! They never say thank you for anything. It just shows their low level of intelligence. So...when they want to get out on the main road when traffic is heavy.........they will sit there and wait from now on !!
  • Pat 2012/03/22 04:59:04
    Yes, Americans are rude and nasty. They feel "entitled" and that really rubs people the wrong way.
  • FalconFlight 2012/03/22 00:04:13
    Why in the world wouldn't Americans be less civil? Look what our gov't leadership says about us: Biden....taxpayers not wanting to happily pay even more are "unpatriotic." Republicans and/or TeaParty types who fought against even more taxation are but "terrorists." Papa Doc Barack refers to millions of Americans as the "enemy." Hey I'm feeling pretty rude bout now.
  • readmylips 2012/03/21 23:17:12
    Americans are more vocal than ever before which is a good thing. Americans have been complacent far too long. America is more divided, thanks to our POTUS and his ideology. No longer will the so-called "silent majority" sit on their hands and tape their mouths. The time has come to ignore name calling. Ruder is not a good word. More outspoken and opinionated would be better. If you think this is rudeness...that's fine. It isn't going to go away.
  • lonewolf 2012/03/21 22:28:47
    gone are the days of manners. this new generation needs a lot of help
  • JohnT lonewolf 2012/03/22 00:30:59
    You are on target. The current generation is so self absorbed, has their head buried in a electronic device they hardly know how to interact with people unless it is a assinine text message. They have no moral compass, no religion, don't know what civility is, and cannot even respond with thank you, yes sir, no mamm. Mommy and daddy spent too little time on training them and they have little respect for anyone including older adults. Glad I am on my bucket list won't be around much longer to put up with a world that I don't like much anymore.
  • lonewolf JohnT 2012/03/22 22:10:14
    i hear that. and agree with what you say
  • S and S 2012/03/21 19:46:46
  • BUD LITE S and S 2012/03/31 08:39:29
    Your remark about the toaster reminds me of an old store I took my kids into once. They had an old table fan hanging on the wall and my son made a comment about the guard being open enough to get your hand through where the blade would hit it. I told him that fan was made back when people had to use their brain and realize that if you put your hand in it would cut your fingers. What has happened to common sense.
  • S and S BUD LITE 2012/03/31 14:20:14 (edited)
  • BUD LITE S and S 2012/04/01 03:28:56
    HaHa! Yeah...I know about the tweezer thing !
  • peter 2012/03/21 19:37:21
    most people i encounter with in my life were nice politely civilize people that were told that if your polite people will be more likely to talk to you and getting along with you, but the few rude ones were either ignorant or just hang around people that were thought that if you're are not rude with it that you're the bitch in it so therefor if they don't wants to be seem or feel like a chicken they act rude and some of those people like i said are either ignorant or just weak low self esteem people that that hand around or were surrounded by rude people and became rude themselves.
  • Reggie☮ 2012/03/21 17:59:14
    Yes I think they are. People will walk right in front of you or bang into you and never even say excuse me. "Please" is also at a minimum.
  • Erin 2012/03/21 17:35:18
    Gyes !! One timey when I feerst coming to Ameryca , a man punchee me en dee estomach for notheeng. He say to me,'" speaking eenglitch joo estoopeed !" I want to killing hing but dat eez wrong to hurting oders wit violence.But eef I ever see hing again, I show hing dat I espeak good englitch now,!!
  • phil white Erin 2012/03/23 16:34:37 (edited)
    phil white
    I was told "Don't wolly lound eye. We plotect you, but you so stupid lound eye. You arways get rost." :-)
  • LaLa 2012/03/21 16:34:44
    Oh hell ya. The only people who yell at me at work are americans everyone else is so sweet
  • phil white 2012/03/21 16:19:58 (edited)
    phil white
    Haven't noticed an increase. I live in a small town. You can't last long in a small town if you're not nice.
  • jacktown kid 2012/03/21 15:15:33
    jacktown kid
    yes we are more ruder than ever before
  • stevegtexas@aol.com 2012/03/21 15:03:27
  • rugrat1411 2012/03/21 14:58:15
    I live in the South but am from the North and you can the tell the difference. The South is more polite and they have manners, most anyway. When my children go up North, St louis to visit they can not get over how rude everyone is. Everyone says they can't get over how polite my children are, 17 and 22 because they say Ma'am and Sir and thank you along with yes and no. Living here 15 years has changed my husband and I, also.
  • phil white rugrat1411 2012/03/21 16:23:09
    phil white
    Some say one reason Southerners are more polite is, everyone and his dog has a gun.
  • JohnT phil white 2012/03/22 00:35:45
    Don't let that politeness fool you. They are sneaky and will stab you in the back in a heart beat. My wife is Hispanic and could not get someone to wait on her in a store.They waited on all the white folks first. There just as screwed up as anyone else
  • phil white JohnT 2012/03/22 18:04:58 (edited)
    phil white
    They are polite within what they consider their own social group. People they don't see as belonging to their national group they may have a problem with.
    Currently third world populations are being used as an immigration/assimilation weapon to blend white's out of existence. Maybe that upsets them.

    It's Asia for Asians, Africa for Africans, Latin America for Latin Americans and white childrens countries for everyone.

  • rugrat1411 phil white 2012/03/26 14:28:15
    I hope this is meant to be funny because I know plenty of people up North that own guns...
  • phil white rugrat1411 2012/03/26 20:31:49 (edited)
    phil white
    Some men of historical note have noted that an armed society is a polite society.
    I think Southerners have more guns per capita than Yankees do.
    The video link I previously posted is the best short explanation of white genocide I know of.
    I don't think guns are going to be much of a solution for my race's genocide problem, if that's what you're getting at.
    The demonization of white's was done by media control.
    Whites have become accoustomed to white genocide the same way Jim Jones (a leftist) conditioned his 900 parisoners to commit mass suicide in Guyana.
    Here's a video about Jones Town Massacre for you.
    If the pen is mightier than the sword the TV is deadlier than a gun.
  • Erin rugrat1411 2012/03/21 17:39:40
    I think that is a good testimony for the south, I know many that feel the same way-my dad was from New England and my mom from Spain and when we moved to NC years ago,part of the charm was the southern hospitality and good manners! Thanks for posting that!
  • famen 2012/03/21 14:54:31
    i think many says "please" and "thank you" just as formality being part of the culture not in letter and spirit.. juz my opinion
  • dave b 2012/03/21 12:44:31
    dave b
    This is what happens when God is marginalized, taken out of schools, and generally dismissed by the Progressive Liberals.
  • JohnT dave b 2012/03/22 00:39:51
    You may have a point, but it is also parents not being parents but pals and buddies with their children. I never was with mine, There was no democracy in the family, you do what your told, you go to church on sundays and work for what you need, Mine always knew they were loved but rules were etched in values and they did not change.
  • BUD LITE JohnT 2012/03/31 08:20:28
    Glad to see someone else feels this way. Being nothing but a "pal" to your children is not the way to go if you care about their future.
  • jer1five 2012/03/21 10:44:32
    Not just ruder but cruder and more vulgar as well. I work at a high school and must hear the f-bomb a dozen or more times a day, not to mention other assorted profanities. Kids using these words are not angry or upset, this is just their normal way of speaking. They see absolutely nothing wrong with it - "it's just a word." They use these words like I use "the" or "and". It's part of the coarsening of our culture that comes from an attitude of increased self-centeredness.
  • JohnT jer1five 2012/04/15 19:48:34
    I had a English teacher once tell me that people that curse have poor language skills and have to use obscenities to make up for poor grammar skills.
  • Mel 2012/03/21 10:20:44
    YES< very disturbing to see it isn't just Native People! I am a freak because I am a Gentleman, maybe not as much as I could be here on SH but it is very disturbing the way PEOPLE act!

    hand of roses
  • Erin Mel 2012/03/21 17:41:20
    That is an awesome graphic dude!
  • JohnT Mel 2012/04/15 19:51:06
    So did you do this with Photoshop CS or Paintshop Pro, or PhotoImpact? It is done well. How many frames for the animation? It really has the effect of PhotoImpact with the bubbles using warm color effects. I do animations as well. This is very creative.
  • Mel JohnT 2012/04/18 21:46:14
    Not mine, I have some really neat anonymous friends who look out for me : ) Thanks
  • Cat27 2012/03/21 08:33:17
    It's not just in America though, is it? Rudeness is a worldwide phenomenon. I'm English and I can tell you that there is no one as obnoxious as Brits. We're rude and disrespectful when we visit other countries and comment on their culture. Many refuse to learn the language of the country they're visiting, but they expect everyone who comes to England to speak English and when they do, they comment on how bad it is. But yet they probably cannot speak a word of the visitors language. I actually find Americans some of the politest people around.
  • SundayS... Cat27 2012/03/21 10:10:25
    I'm a Brit too. High five. e.e

    And while I obviously try not to be that rude myself, i have to agree there. n.n Teenage girls are the worst; I should know, I am one.

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