A woman wears "Black Lives Matter" jewelry to a Juneteenth party in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 2021.
A woman wears “Black Lives Matter” jewelry to a Juneteenth party in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 2021. (Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

American teenagers are more likely than adults to express support for the Black Lives Matter movement, according to two Pew Research Center surveys fielded this spring.

A bar chart showing that seven-in-ten U.S. teens express support for the Black Lives Matter movement, compared with 56% of adults

Seven-in-ten U.S. teens say they at least somewhat support the Black Lives Matter movement, including 31% of teenagers who strongly support it, according to a survey conducted in April and May among American teens ages 13 to 17. By comparison, a little over half of U.S. adults (56%) said in a March survey that they support the Black Lives Matter movement, similar to the 55% who said the same in September 2021 and September 2020. Around a quarter of adults (26%) strongly support the movement.

Pew Research Center conducted this analysis to understand Americans’ attitudes toward the Black Lives Matter movement and how the views of teenagers compare with those of adults. This analysis relies on data from two separate survey efforts. For the analysis of teens, we surveyed 1,316 U.S. teens in a survey conducted online by Ipsos from April 14 to May 4, 2022. Ipsos invited one parent from each of a representative set of households with parents of teens in the desired age range from its KnowledgePanel – a probability-based web panel recruited primarily through national, random sampling of residential addresses – to take the survey. One teen per parent was then invited to complete the teen questionnaire used in this analysis. These results are weighted to be representative of teens ages 13 to 17 who live with parents by age, gender, race, ethnicity, household income and other categories.

For the analysis of adults, we surveyed 3,581 U.S. adults from March 21-27, 2022. All adults who took part in the survey are members of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey of adults is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology.

Here are the questions used for the survey of teens and its methodology. Here are the questions used for the survey of adults and its methodology.

A bar chart showing that U.S. teens and young adults more likely than older age groups to support the Black Lives Matter movement

While support for the Black Lives Matter movement varies considerably between teens and adults, similar shares of 13- to 17-year-olds and young adults ages 18 to 29 express at least some support for the movement (70% vs. 66%, a difference that is not statistically significant). Some 57% of adults ages 30 to 49 support the movement – comparable to the 54% of adults ages 50 to 64 who do so, but higher than the share of adults 65 and older who support it (49%).

A bar chart showing large racial, ethnic and partisan gaps in U.S. teens’ support for the Black Lives Matter movement

As is the case among adults, there are large racial and ethnic gaps in support for the Black Lives Matter movement among teens. Black teenagers are the most likely to say they at least somewhat support the movement (92% say this), with 57% saying they strongly support it. Roughly eight-in-ten Hispanic teens (82%) express at least some support for the movement, compared with a smaller majority of White teens (57%).

In each racial and ethnic group for which data is available, adults are less likely than teens to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Eight-in-ten Black adults do so, compared with two-thirds of Hispanic adults and half of White adults. The sample sizes for Asian teenagers and adults were too small to analyze separately.

A chart showing that Republican teens are much more likely than Republican adults to express support for the Black Lives Matter movement

Teens’ views of the Black Lives Matter movement differ along party lines, but Republican and Democratic teens are still more supportive of the movement than their adult counterparts. About four-in-ten Republican and Republican-leaning teenagers (42%) say they at least somewhat support the Black Lives Matter movement, compared with 22% of Republican and GOP-leaning adults. Democratic and Democratic-leaning teenagers’ views align more closely with those of their adult counterparts, with a 9 percentage point gap saying they support the movement (94% vs. 85%). Democratic teens are also slightly more likely than Democratic adults to say they strongly support the Black Lives Matter movement: Half of teenage Democrats say this, compared with 44% of adult Democrats.

Note: Here are the questions used for the survey of teens and its methodology. Here are the questions used for the survey of adults and its methodology.

Kiley Hurst  is a research assistant focusing on social and demographic research at Pew Research Center.