When Americans are asked what has brought the biggest improvement to their lives in the past five decades, they name technology more than any other advancement.
And as Americans think about the next 50 years, they expect that technology, along with medical advances, will continue to have a major impact, according to a recently-published Pew Research Center survey conducted May to June of this year.
The past 50 years have seen major changes in the U.S., from rapid social change ushered in by the civil and equal rights movements of the late 1960s, to biomedical innovations leading to increased success with human and artificial organ transplantation, to the emergence of the information age.
In an open-ended question, respondents were asked, “What would you say was the biggest improvement to life in America over the past 50 years or so?” Technology was cited most (42%), while far fewer respondents mentioned medicine and health (14%), civil and equal rights (10%) or other advancements. Technology was identified as the biggest improvement by whites (47%) and Hispanics (35%), while blacks were about as likely to name technology (26%) as they were civil and equal rights (21%).