Twenty years after 9/11, the changes the attacks brought to American life still reverberate across political and demographic lines. A new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS finds that 57% of Americans say the attacks impacted the way they live their life today and 68% say the attacks had an impact on Americans’ individual rights and freedoms.
While the share who say the attacks affected rights and freedoms has dropped in the last decade (an AP-NORC Poll conducted in 2011 found that 86% of Americans thought the attacks had affected individual rights and freedoms), the percentage who say 9/11 changed the way they live their lives today has held relatively steady over time.
Five years after the attacks, in 2006, an AP-Ipsos survey found a 50-50 split over whether 9/11 affected the way Americans live their lives. By 2011, 57% said their lives had been impacted by the attacks in an AP-NORC poll, and 63% felt that way two years later.
That a majority feels the attacks had some effect on the way Americans live their lives today holds across demographic and political divides, but there are some differences in the extent to which different groups feel their lives changed. Older adults, who were 45 or older in 2001, are least likely to say the attacks had “a great deal” of impact on how they live their lives now (13% say so). Among those who were children, teenagers or not even born yet at the time of the attacks, 24% say 9/11 had a great deal of impact on their lives.
Overall, about 1 in 5 (20%) say September 11 had a great deal of impact on their life today, while 37% say it was just some impact.
The sense that the attacks affected individual rights and freedoms is also consistent across demographic divides, though Republicans (72%) are a bit more likely than Democrats (64%) to say that rights and freedoms were affected by the attacks.
About half of Americans in the new poll (51%) say they rarely or never think about what happened on September 11. At the 10-year anniversary of the attacks, that figure stood at 35%.
The frequency with which Americans think about the attacks is connected to their age in 2001. Those who were older than college age (22 or older) then are more likely to say they think about 9/11 a few times a month or more often (55%) than are those who younger than that (40%). Among those who were 45 or older at the time of the attacks, 61% say they think of 9/11 a few times a month or more.
The new CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS August 3 through September 7 among a random national sample of 2,119 adults initially reached by mail. Interviews were either conducted online or by telephone with a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.