Commemorating MLK Day: Reflecting on the Shift in Americans’ Perception of Equality

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we’re looking at the values that embodied King’s life and mission to fight for civil rights nationwide. How far as a country have we come in the past half a century? 

How do U.S. adults rank equality among top values now?

To measure these personal values, we use the theory of basic individual values, what we call the Human Element, developed by Dr. Shalom Schwartz. He identified a set of personal values that range from individuality to humanity to creativity, duty, dependability and in this case, equality. 

EQUALITY: the belief that everyone should be treated equally 

Now, on MLK Day, we’re looking at the numbers and how they’ve shifted in the last couple of years. To get a real-time pulse on how Americans are feeling about equality going into 2024, we asked rAI, our proprietary AI neural network, to analyze our Resonate Elements dataset. It may come as a surprise that only 23.1% of the US adult population consider equality a top personal valuedown from 55.4% in January 2022. 

This shift is notable as can be seen by the debates on this topic playing out daily in the news cycle. No doubt, 2024 will continue to be a year of shifting sentiment about equality and other core values and what they mean to Americans. It’s more critical than ever to grasp an understanding of what these changing attitudes toward equality mean and the implications for society at large.

How do U.S. adults rank equality among top values in 2024?

Source: Resonate Ignite PlatformTM, January 2024

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