Identity is a central component of our existence, and for Black Americans, it’s directly correlative to race. 

The Pew Research Center recently released findings that state a significant majority of Black people living in the US say being Black is pivotal to how they think about themselves. 

According to the report, 78% of Black Americans say being Black is very or extremely important to how they think about themselves. But the report points out that this thinking is generational. Black adults ages 50 and older are more likely than Black adults ages 18 to 29 to say that being Black is very or extremely important to how they think of themselves. Specifically, 76% of Black adults ages 30 to 49, 80% of those 50 to 64 and 83% of those 65 and older hold this view, while only 63% of those under 30 do.

The report also touched on how race shapes political beliefs as well. 

Black adults who align with the Democratic Party are more likely than those who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party to say being Black is important to how they see themselves – 86% vs. 58%. Meanwhile, Black women (80%) are more likely than Black men (72%) to say being Black is important to how they see themselves. 

Despite this strong connection to their race, most Black people say they don’t have much insight into their family history or genealogical ancestry, but they want to change that. 

The report highlighted that Black adults who said their identity is central to race also reported that (81%) are more likely than those for whom Blackness is less important (59%) to have spoken to their relatives. They are about as likely to have researched their family’s history online (36% vs. 30%, respectively) and to have used a mail-in DNA service such as AncestryDNA or 23andMe (15% vs. 16%) to learn more about their ancestry.