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.
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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