For One-Third of Americans, 9/11 Was a "Life-Altering" Experience

by David W. Moore

Especially true for non-whites, those who identify with the "religious right," and young women

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Popular wisdom suggests that, for many people, the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, caused a serious re-thinking of personal priorities, providing a major turning point in their lives. A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll helps puts some hard numbers to that popular wisdom, as 33% of Americans say that the 9/11 attacks constituted for them a "life-altering experience," and that as a result, they have changed their priorities in life. Another 66% say their priorities in life have remained essentially the same.

Which of the following best describes your situation after September 11th -- [ROTATED: your priorities in life have essentially remained the same, (or) you feel this was a life-altering experience and you have changed your priorities in life as a result]?

 

 

 

Priorities the same

Priorities changed

No opinion

       

2001 Dec 14-16

66%

33

1



Spending more time with loved ones appears to be one of the effects of the changing priorities. Among those who say their priorities have changed, more than half -- 54% -- say they are now spending more time with their friends and family than they did before the attacks. Only 19% of those with unchanged priorities make that statement.

Amount of Time Americans Are Spending with Family and Friends Compared by Whether Sept. 11 Attacks Caused Respondents to Change Life Priorities
Dec. 14-16, 2001

The people who are most likely to see the 9/11 attacks as a life-altering experience are non-whites (50%), people who identify with the religious right (46%), and women under the age of 50 (46%). Among all age groups combined, women are much more likely than men to make that statement (42% vs. 24% respectively). Those in the 30-49 age range are most likely to express that view (38%), while those over 65 are least likely (27%).

 

Percent Saying 9/11 Attacks "Life-Altering Experience" Compared by Demographic Characteristics

Characteristic

"Life-Altering Experience"

(%)

Overall

33

Gender

 

Male

24

Female

42

Gender by Age

 

Male 18-49

26

Female 18-49

46

Male 50+

18

Female 50+

36

Race

 

White

30

Non-White

50

Religious Right

 

Yes

46

No

30

Age

 

18-29

31

30-49

38

50-64

30

65+

27

Region

 

East

35

Midwest

34

South

32

West

32

Urban-Rural

 

Urban

36

Suburban

31

Rural

35

Personal Finances Past Year Have Been:

 

Better

30

Worse

41

Family Yearly Income

 

Less than $20K

38

$20-$30K

36

$30-50K

31

$50K+

32

Political Ideology

 

Conservative

34

Moderate

36

Liberal

28

Political Party

 

Republican

32

Independent

30

Democrat

38



Seeing the 9/11 events as a life-altering experience is also related to one's economic situation. Among those whose financial situation is worse this year than last, 41% say the terrorist attacks were life-altering. However, among those who say their financial situation got better, only 30% make that claim. Also, people with lower incomes are somewhat more likely to see the terrorist attacks as life-altering than are those with higher incomes.

Political affiliations do not seem strongly related to the view of 9/11 as life-altering. Conservatives are slightly more likely to express that view than liberals (34% vs. 28% respectively), but Democrats are slightly more likely to have that view than Republicans (38% vs. 32% respectively).

Also, there are only slight differences among people from various regions of the country, and among people who live in the urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,019 national adults, aged 18+, conducted December 14-16, 2001. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Get Articles in Related Topics:


Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/5143/OneThird-Americans-911-LifeAltering-Experience.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030