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How American Culture is Changing: 5 Trends to Watch

Highlights: 5 Important Trends in Cultural Mindsets
June 7, 2022

Are the social and political upheavals of the last two years leading to shifts in foundational American mindsets? If so, how, and what opportunities and challenges do those shifts present for those working to advance progressive social change? 

The Culture Change Project is an ongoing investigation by the FrameWorks Institute designed to uncover shifts in the tacit assumptions and understandings that Americans are drawing on to think about social and political issues. This document—a complement to the comprehensive findings report—presents five important trends in mindsets that we’re already seeing in the first two years of our research, and ideas about what these trends might mean for progressives:

  1. Individualism remains a dominant American mindset, but systems thinking is on the rise. 
  2. People are increasingly acknowledging the systemic components of racism, along with individual biases. 
  3. People recognize that policy shapes economic outcomes but, paradoxically, see the job market and inequality as outside of government control. 
  4. “System is rigged” thinking has become an even more dominant part of American culture. 
  5. Across the political spectrum, people believe that government can and should be responsive to people’s needs—but that it often isn’t.

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