Study of 1940 census reveals white boys who lived next door to black neighbors were more likely to become Democrats, growing into more liberal-minded adults after being exposed to people of different backgrounds

 White men who grew up with a black neighbor are more likely to register as Democrats even 70 years after leaving the neighborhood, a study has shown.

Scientists found that young white boys who lived next door to people from different backgrounds in the 1940s became more liberal-minded in adulthood.

Their findings revealed that even as late as 2017 there was a greater chance these men would sign up to the Democratic Party compared to other white males from the same neighborhood.

The authors wrote: 'We find that, among white Americans, early-life exposure to black neighbors predicts Democratic partisanship over 70 years later.' 

The study, which analyzed records for more than 650,000 white men, suggests that experiences and socialization in early life have a long term effect on attitudes. 

Scientists have found revealed that white men who grew up with a black neighbor are more likely to register as Democrats even 70 years after leaving the neighborhood

Scientists have found revealed that white men who grew up with a black neighbor are more likely to register as Democrats even 70 years after leaving the neighborhood

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, used information from the US census rolls from the 1940s, which is thought to have covered 99 per cent of the population

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, used information from the US census rolls from the 1940s, which is thought to have covered 99 per cent of the population

The pattern was revealed across different regions of the United States and was consistent among those who had and had not moved from their childhood homes. 

The authors note that the study has implications on the response to diversity in the United States. They wrote that 'despite the short-term social inefficiencies associated with diversity, there may be long-term positive effects for social harmony'. 


Ryan Enos, one of the lead scientists involved in the study, told the Los Angeles Times: 'One thing we know from a lot of academic research — and we know this from just our own two eyes — is that there can often be negative consequences of [diversity] because some people aren't comfortable with it.'

He pointed to the case of Republican Donald Trump being elected president in 2016 following the United States' first black president Barack Obama, who was a Democrat. 

Enos noted that on the campaign trail, Trump appealed to voters using rhetoric that was often deemed racist or xenophobic.

The study, which analyzed records for more than 650,000 white men, suggests that experiences and socialization in early life have a long term effect on attitudes

The study, which analyzed records for more than 650,000 white men, suggests that experiences and socialization in early life have a long term effect on attitudes

These most recent findings suggests that the negative reactions to diversity could be short-term effects and that diverse societies can be successful.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, used information from the US census rolls from the 1940s, which is thought to have covered 99 per cent of the population. 

Using an algorithm, the authors matched as many people from the census as they could with voter file data from California in 2005 and North Carolina in 2009. They repeated the same process for both these states plus Nebraska in 2017.      

Researcher Ryan Enos pointed to the case of Republican Donald Trump being elected president following the United States' first black president Barack Obama

Researcher Ryan Enos pointed to the case of Republican Donald Trump being elected president following the United States' first black president Barack Obama

Enos noted that on the campaign trail, Trump appealed to voters using rhetoric that was often deemed racist or xenophobic

Enos noted that on the campaign trail, Trump appealed to voters using rhetoric that was often deemed racist or xenophobic

The findings revealed that who lived one door down from black neighbors when hey were children were 1.5 to 4.2 percentage points more likely be registered Democrats in the 2005/2009 data, and 2.8 to 5.3 percentage points more likely to be Democrats than their peers in the 2017 data. 

The scientists said the data may indicate a more liberal-minded outlook from white men who grew up living close to black neighbors, since Democratic affiliation is associated with more racially liberal politics.

Although these percentages are small, Enos pointed out that when multiplied by the millions of people who lived in the United States at the time of the study they have the potential to make a significant impact.

He said: 'Ask how many more or less people would have different racial attitudes if we had a more or less segregated society at the time — it adds up to a lot.'

Study of 1940 census reveals white boys who lived next door to black neighbors were more likely to become Democrats, growing into more liberal-minded adults after being exposed to people of different backgrounds Study of 1940 census reveals white boys who lived next door to black neighbors were more likely to become Democrats, growing into more liberal-minded adults after being exposed to people of different backgrounds Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:11 Rating: 5

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