Those who are active members in groups – 75% of Americans – were asked about three potential reasons for being active in social or civic groups. Some 59% of adults cite this as the major reason: accomplishing things as part of a group that they could not accomplish on their own. An almost equal number (57%) say that keeping up with news and information about subjects that matter to them is a major reason. Fewer adults cite meeting new people as a major reason to participate in social and civic groups.
Reasons for participating in groups vary across age groups. The youngest adults, age 18-29, are much more likely than older adults to say that meeting new people is a major reason they participate in these kinds of groups. Six in ten young adults (59%) say meeting new people is a major reason for them, making it equally important as keeping up with information (58%) and almost as important as accomplishing things as part of a group that they cannot accomplish on their own (65%). In contrast, about one in five adults age 65 and older (18%) say meeting people who share their interests is not a reason at all for them to participate in groups.
Low income adults and African-Americans are also slightly more likely than others to cite meeting new people who share their interests as a major reason to participate in social and civic groups. More than half of adults (56%) in households earning less than $30,000 say this is a major reason for them, and among African-American adults, 58% cite this as a major reason.
Both African-American adults (70%) and Hispanic adults (67%) are significantly more likely than white adults (54%) to say that keeping with news and information that matters to them is a major reason to participate. In fact, for minority adults, this reason ranks higher than accomplishing things as part of a group or meeting new people.