“Americans remain concerned about the national division currently splitting the US across social, political and economic issues. Most are skeptical that the country will be able to find common ground and unite. Because of their lost faith in political leaders, many consumers are looking to brands and companies to help demonstrate Americans’ shared and unifying experiences, and highlight the more moderate and nuanced views that are currently overshadowed by the vocal political minority.”

– Lisa Dubina, Associate Director | Culture and Identity

This Report will look at the following areas:

  • The general outlook on social, political and economic division in the US
  • Consumers’ views and concerns regarding key issues currently impacting society
  • Americans’ expectations for and perceived role of brands to address the country’s current divide

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Perceptions of American division, 2022
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Consumers’ outlook on the American divide is fairly bleak
      • Figure 2: Outlook on American division, 2022
    • Moderate and nuanced views are more widespread than today’s political discourse implies
      • Figure 3: Top social and political issues, 2022
    • The majority of consumers expect brands to address the country’s division
      • Figure 4: Brand influence, by generation, 2022
      • Figure 5: Responsibility of brands, by generation, 2022
  3. Target Audience

    • Segmenting consumers based on their perceptions of American division
      • Figure 6: Perceptions of American division, 2022
    • Factors
    • Segments
    • Unengaged and Unconcerned (32%)
      • Figure 7: Demographic profile – Unengaged and Unconcerned, 2022
    • Concerned but Hopeful (21%)
      • Figure 8: Demographic profile – Concerned but Hopeful, 2022
    • Concerned Liberal-leaning (33%)
      • Figure 9: Demographic profile – Concerned Liberal-leaning, 2022
    • Concerned Conservative-leaning (14%)
      • Figure 10: Demographic profile – Concerned Conservative-leaning, 2022
    • These segments live in very different environments that likely influence their social and political outlook
      • Figure 11: Perceptions of city or community, select responses – The people, by American division segments, 2022
      • Figure 12: Perceptions of city or community, select responses – The state of progress, by American division segments, 2022
  4. Market Factors

    • Abortion bans, crime vs gun control and election legitimacy are on ballot for 2022 midterms
    • The economic divide during inflation
    • Social and cultural polarization has Americans seeking more moderate political leadership
  5. The Consumer – Fast Facts

  6. The Landscape of America’s Divide

    • Two thirds of people feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction
      • Figure 13: State of the country, 2022
    • Young and Democratic-leaning consumers are more likely to support the country’s current standing
      • Figure 14: State of the country, by generation, by political affiliation, 2022
    • More than half of Concerned but Hopeful consumers feel optimistic about the direction of the country
      • Figure 15: State of the country, by American division segments, 2022
    • Inflation is Americans’ primary social and political concern
      • Figure 16: Top social and political issues, 2022
    • Top social and political issues differ by demographics
      • Figure 17: Top social and political issues, by generation, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
    • Concern about the country’s political divide aligns with Mintel’s consumer segments and educational attainment
      • Figure 18: Top social and political issues – The political divide, by education, by American divide segments, 2022
  7. Outlook on Key Social and Political Issues

      • Figure 19: Top social and political issues, 2022
    • Consumers’ outlook on teaching antiracism and stricter gun control aligns with the traditional partisan divide
      • Figure 20: Top social and political issues – Teaching antiracism and gun control, by political affiliation, 2022
    • Gender is a key driver in consumers’ perspective on abortion bans, and race influences consumer opinions on defunding the police
      • Figure 21: Top social and political issues – Defunding the police by gender and abortion bans by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, 2022
    • Women and Gen Zs are key critics of divisive LGBTQ+ bans at schools
      • Figure 22: Top social and political issues – Defunding the police by gender, and abortion bans by ethnicity and Hispanic origin , 2022
  8. America’s Political Divide

    • Americans are concerned and pessimistic about the country’s political divide
      • Figure 23: Political outlook, 2022
    • Even across political affiliations, people are concerned about the US reputation and political divide
      • Figure 24: Political outlook, by political affiliation, 2022
    • Younger Americans are either less engaged or more optimistic about the country’s political division, aligning with Mintel’s consumer segments
      • Figure 25: Political outlook, by generation, 2022
    • Gen Z and Millennials are less likely to vote but more likely to participate in demonstrations
      • Figure 26: Political engagement, by generation, 2022
    • Despite widespread concerns over the country’s political divide, nearly six in 10 Americans believe brands can help unite the country
      • Figure 27: Brand influence, 2022
    • Brand spotlight: Ikea appeals to our unifying human struggles – the new opportunities they can lead to
      • Figure 28: Ikea tackles the tough topics of life in The Life Collection, 2022
    • Younger people – especially Millennials – are more optimistic about the help brands can provide
      • Figure 29: Brand influence, by generation, 2022
    • Americans who are more middle-of-the-road are more likely to be optimistic that the country can unite
      • Figure 30: Brand influence, by political affiliation, 2022
    • Brand spotlight: Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” experiment
      • Figure 31: Heineken’s Worlds Apart commercial
  9. America’s Social and Cultural Divide

    • The majority of Americans feel the cultural divide is growing, and half feel this divide will never be bridged
      • Figure 32: Social and cultural divide, 2022
    • Despite concern about the country’s social divide, few Americans are overly engaged with social issues
      • Figure 33: Social and cultural engagement, 2022
    • Gen Zs are less concerned about the country’s cultural divide – in keeping with Mintel’s Unengaged and Unconcerned segment
      • Figure 34: Social and cultural divide, by generation, 2022
    • Three in 10 millennials and quarter of Gen Zs look to brands to support important social issues
      • Figure 35: Social and cultural engagement, by generation, 2022
    • Conservative Republicans and Liberal Democrats are most concerned about America’s cultural divide and its impact on democracy
      • Figure 36: Social and cultural divide, by political affiliation, 2022
    • Liberal Democrats are the most engaged with social and cultural causes and most likely to look for brands to step in
      • Figure 37: Social and cultural divide, by political affiliation, 2022
  10. America’s Economic Divide

    • The majority of Americans believe the country’s economic divide is unequal and an overlooked issue
      • Figure 38: Outlook on the economic divide, 2022
    • Millennials and Gen Xers are most likely to see the economic divide as an unequal and overlooked issue
      • Figure 39: Outlook on the economic divide, by generation, 2022
    • A small majority feels that capitalism has created a stark divide between the “haves” and the “have nots”
      • Figure 40: Outlook on capitalism and the middle class, by generation, 2022
    • Outlook on the economic divide aligns with the political divide
      • Figure 41: Outlook on the economic divide, by political affiliation, 2022
    • Belief in the country’s economic inequality informs people’s expectations for brands
      • Figure 42: Responsibility of brands, by political affiliation, 2022
  11. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • The intersection of Rights and Identity
    • Taco Bell names Lil Nas X as the brand’ Chief Impact Officer
      • Figure 43: Taco Bell’s Chief Impact Officer
    • Starbucks Colombia demonstrates importance of voting
    • Neighbors in Los Angeles protest against gentrification
    • New Colombian app introduces political matchmaking
  12. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

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