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News Releases
Wildfire - 06/29/22

From June 2–11, 2022, the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center conducted a statewide survey of Oregonians’ values and beliefs, including attitudes and perceptions about wildfires in Oregon. The question numbers in this document correspond with the survey questionnaire (Q1-9). 

Oregonians Agree: Wildfire is a Concern

As Oregonians often struggle to bridge ideological divides, there is widespread common ground when it comes to concerns about the effects of wildfire in Oregon, regardless of political party, income, education, or age. 

The majority of Oregonians expect wildfires to increase over the next 10 years (88% of respondents) (Q3A).

People from all areas of Oregon are in strong agreement on this prediction, with 88% of those living in the Tri County area, 88% in the Willamette Valley, and 86% of those living in the rest of the state expecting increased wildfires over the next ten years.

Oregonians with and without school-aged children are also in agreement (88%, 87%). 

“Wildfires have been crazy the past few years and it scares me.”

Woman, age 30-44, Polk County, Asian and White

People are More Concerned About the Threat to Other People Living in Oregon, Than Their Own Personal Risk
 

Oregonians are most concerned about the risk wildfires pose to people living in Oregon in general, with nine in ten Oregonians saying they see wildfires as a serious threat (92%) (Q1C).

Comparatively, only six in ten Oregonians see wildfire as a very or somewhat serious threat to their local community (60%) (Q1B). five in ten of those polled see wildfires as a direct threat to themselves and their families (53%) (Q1A).

Oregonians are less likely to see wildfire as a direct threat to themselves or their family, although more than half say this is a very or somewhat serious threat (53%) (Q1A).

High Level of Concern is the Same as Last Year

The high level of concern for the risk of wildfires in Oregon, broadly, did not budge over the past year, with 92% of Oregonians in May of 2021[1] and 93% in June of 2022 seeing wildfires as a threat to people living in the state. 

Considering the extremely wet spring, it is not a major surprise that when asked about their area of Oregon, Oregonians’ concern for wildfire has decreased a bit since May of last year. 

In May of 2021, 58% said they saw wildfire as a threat to themselves and their families. This was 5 points higher than responses from June 2022 (53%). 
A year ago, 68% of Oregonians saw wildfires as a threat to their local community, which was eight points higher than how people feel this year (60%). 

In addition to wildfires, 79% of Oregonians also believe that, over the next ten years, there will be a significant loss to the states forests because of heat and drought (Q3C). Women predict loss of forests from drought and heat at a higher rate than men (85% compared to 72%). 

Wildfire Concerns: Health and Wildlife are Most Important

When presented with a list of potential negative impacts from wildfire, Oregonians’ values appear to align mostly in maintaining our natural resources, health, and wellbeing, with less concern about impacts to recreation or personal property (Q7A-H).Oregonians are most concerned about the health effects of smoke from wildfires (83% of respondents) (Q7E).

When it comes to concerns about smoke, there is no noteworthy difference between those who have school-aged children in their household and those who do not (85%, 83%). Although both women and men are greatly concerned about the health effects of smoke, women are slightly more so (88% compared to 79%).

Loss of wildlife and fish habitat is the possible effect with the second-highest level of concern, with a striking 82% of Oregonians indicating great or moderate concern (Q7C). All Oregonians within the various age groups, political affiliations, counties, education levels, incomes, housing situations, and genders range between 74% and 88% in saying they are concerned about loss of wildlife and fish habitat from wildfires.

Loss of Public Forestland is Also a Top Concern

Oregonians share a similar level of concern about uncontrolled and high-severity wildfires and loss of public forestland as a result of wildfires (80% and 78%) (Q7D,Q7F).

Concern about uncontrolled and high-severity wildfires remains relatively stable regardless of identity or area of residence, but women are slightly more concerned than men about the loss of public forestland (81% compared to 74%).

Slightly more than six in ten Oregonians worry about lost or diminished recreational opportunities and the cost of firefighting that might result from wildfires (65% and 63%) (Q7B,Q7G).

The lowest levels of concern were for damage to personal property (51%), and reductions in tourism (49%) (Q7A,Q7H).

  • Interestingly, and perhaps reflecting the current housing shortage, those who rent and those who own their home are equally concerned when it comes to wildfire-related damage to personal property (Q7A).
  • For those who live in rural areas of Oregon, there is more concern about the effects of wildfire-related damage to property than those who live in an urban area (61% compared to 47%) (Q7A).
  • When it comes to concerns about the effects of wildfires on tourism, there were no noteworthy response variations between those who live in different areas of Oregon (Q7H).

“Controlled burns and allowing natural caused fires to burn is essential, just because humans are encroaching on nature doesn’t mean people should risk life and limb to protect material possession.”

Man, age 65-74, Deschutes County, White

Strong Support for Protecting Wilderness from Fire

A strong majority of Oregonians (75%) believe that attempts should be made to fight wildfires that break out in wilderness areas far from homes (Q4). 

Those who live in the Willamette Valley show the strongest level of support for fighting wildfires in wilderness areas (83%) compared to the Tri County area (67%) and the rest of Oregon (77%). Those with school-aged children are more supportive of fighting wildfires in wilderness areas than those who do not have school-aged children (81%, 72%). 

Oregonians are in support of fighting the fire particularly if it is human-caused: 

“We can’t just let our state burn to the ground.”

Woman, age 30-44, Polk County, Asian and White

“Every bit of damage we are responsible for and should intervene. We constantly hurt the forest, so letting nature do its thing is not an option.”

Non-binary, age 18-29, Yamhill County, Black or African American and White

“Protect human life. Fires can spread very, very fast.”

Man, age 65-74, Deschutes County, Prefer not to answer race/ethnicity

“I would say if it’s naturally caused and far from homes then let it burn, but only up to a limit, control it and make sure it doesn’t destroy too much land area. And if it’s human causes, fight it.”

Prefer not to share gender, Age 18-29, Deschutes County, Prefer not to answer race/ethnicity

Should Some Wildfires be Left to Burn?

Those Oregonians who believe some wildfires should be left to burn, while in the minority, express a belief that not all fires are bad for the ecosystem. They also say they fear finite resources being used unnecessarily:

“As long as no homes/businesses are affected, then let nature take its course. Fires are good/healthy for forests, so we should let it happen. Also, it would help thin out the forests so that a massive wildfire can be avoided in future years, at least for a while.”

Woman, age 45-54, Tri County, Hispanic/Latino/a/x

“Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem. it clears out undergrowth that fuels future fires. it gets rid of dead, diseased trees. Everything I’ve read suggests that it is a waste of resources and the result of poor management to continue throwing resources–especially manpower–to fight fires that don’t respond very well to the efforts to control.”

Woman, age 75+, Lincoln County, Prefer not to answer race/ethnicity

“Resources and personnel are finite and cannot be everywhere, so they must be focused where they matter.”

Non-binary, age 45-54, Clackamas County, Asian and White

Management of Wildfires

Less than half of Oregonians approve of how wildfires are being managed, either by individual landowners or the government. However, approval numbers for private land management are higher than those of the state or federal government.

Of those polled, just 46% of Oregonians say they believe private landowners are managing their land well to prevent wildfires (Q2A). When asked how well the state is managing state-owned lands to prevent wildfires, the approval rating drops to 39% (Q2B). The lowest approval rating among Oregonians is at 31% when asked about the federal government’s effectiveness in managing federally owned lands to prevent wildfires (Q2C).

“Timber companies do not want to log weak, sick, damaged trees in dense forest. Timber companies do not want to log trees killed by fire. They want access to log the large, old healthy trees that survived fire and density. There is no profit for them in small, destroyed trees. A trees ability to survive (or come back) from a fire is greatly underestimated in the logging debate.”

Man, age 65-74, Multnomah County, White and Other race or ethnicity

Wildfire Reduction Methods

When polled on different wildfire reduction methods, Oregonians generally support a range of different methods (Q5A-H).  

  • Wildfire reduction methods that specifically address the danger wildfire poses to homes are the most popular among Oregonians, with 89% in support of clearing space around homes of flame-spread vegetation and 85% supporting hardening and preparing homes to be more fire resistant (Q5E,Q5A).
  • A large majority of Oregonians (78%) think there should be periodic controlled burns of “ground fuels,” although it is worth noting 16% answered “don’t know,” indicating an opportunity for further study and clarification (Q5B).
  • For the most part, less popular solutions still see strong support, with 71% of Oregonians in support of more public purchase of firefighting equipment, and 68% hoping Oregon will limit construction of new homes in fire-prone areas (Q5G,Q5F).
  • The wildfire reduction strategy with the lowest level of support is more logging across the forested landscape (36% support) (Q5D).
    • It is worth noting that when asked about removing smaller, weaker, and poorer quality of trees in crowded forests, support increases to 76% (Q5C).

Evacuations due to Wildfire

One in five Oregonians say they have had to evacuate their area of Oregon due to a wildfire (Q6). Of those who have had to evacuate, 60% say they felt like they had the support they needed to evacuate (Q6A). Of those who haven’t yet had to evacuate their area because of a wildfire, 62% say they feel they currently have the support and resources they need in order to do so (Q6B).

Women are more likely than men to be concerned about wildfires, and less likely than men to feel that they have the resources or support to evacuate their area should they need to. When asked about the next ten years, women were more likely than men to predict an increase in wildfires (91% vs. 83%) (Q3A). Of those polled, 58% of women see wildfire as a direct threat to themselves and their families compared to 46% of men (Q1A).

Among those who have not had to evacuate because of wildfires, 53% of women say they feel they have the support and resources they need to suddenly evacuate their homes vs. 70% of men who say the same thing (Q6B). 

Although not statistically significant, among Oregonians who have had to evacuate because of wildfires, once again, women were less likely than men to say they got the support they needed (57% compared to 66%) (Q6A).

Demographic Trends

Identifying what unites us, understanding what divides us.

Reported below are statistically significant subgroup differences between BIPOC and white Oregonians, urban and rural Oregonians, and age groups. Many of these differences are not major and are presented to inform public education and communications initiatives.  

While there appears to be a consensus amongst Oregonians that wildfires are a serious issue, those in rural areas are more likely to see wildfires as a direct threat to themselves and their families (Q1A).

67% of Oregonians in rural counties are concerned about the threat of wildfires to themselves and their families compared to 45% of those in urban areas (Q1A).

Part of this may be due to more personal experiences with wildfires, with 27% of Oregonians in rural communities saying they have already had to evacuate their homes due to a wildfire compared to 16% of those living in urban areas (Q6).

“Living in rural Oregon near forests, there is now constant fear of another wildfire. There is also the seemingly constant amount of smoke in the air now, all the time; it is ridiculous.” 

Woman, age 45-54, Marion County, White

 

While BIPOC and white Oregonians have similar feelings about wildfire, it is worth noting that among those who have not had to evacuate, 56% of BIPOC respondents say they feel they have the support and resources they need to evacuate their homes, compared to 64% of white respondents (Q6B). 

Older Oregonians are generally less concerned than younger Oregonians about wildfires in their area of Oregon.

Just 32% of those 75 or older feel that wildfires are a risk to themselves and their family, compared to 49-58% of the other age groups (Q1A). 

When asked about the risk of wildfires to folks living in their community, once again, older Oregonians reported concern at a lower rate (42% compared to 56-66% of other age groups) (Q1B). 

Of those 18-29, nearly seven in ten believe wildfire is a serious threat to people living in their community (66%), the highest level of concern among all age groups. 

When it comes to concerns around wildfire to Oregon in general, there is much more alignment among Oregonians of all ages that it is a serious threat (88-96%) (Q1C). 

There is agreement among all age groups that Oregon will likely experience an increase in the number of wildfires over the next ten years (83-92%) (Q3A). 

Methodology: The online survey consisted of 1,446 Oregon residents ages 18+ and took approximately 15 minutes to complete. Respondents were contacted by using professionally maintained online panels. In gathering responses, a variety of quality control measures were employed, including questionnaire pre-testing, validation, and real-time monitoring of responses. To ensure a representative sample, demographic quotas were set, and data weighted by area of the state, gender, age, and education.

Statement of Limitations: Based on a 95% confidence interval, this survey’s margin of error for the full sample ±2.5%. Due to rounding or multiple answer questions, response percentages may not add up to 100%.

This survey uses aggregated data to analyze the opinions of BIPOC residents in comparison to the opinions of residents who identify as white and not another race. BIPOC residents are not a monolith; the grouping represents a wide diversity of races and ethnicities. The findings included in this memo should not be construed such that all people of color are believed to share the same opinions. Disaggregated race data will be provided when sample sizes permit reliability.

Tourism in Oregon - 06/21/22

From May 6–16, 2022, the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center conducted a statewide survey of Oregonians’ attitudes toward tourism. The question numbers in this document correspond with the survey questionnaire (Q21–Q28B).  

Oregon’s Natural Beauty Brings Tourism

When Oregonians think of tourism, images of the state’s natural beauty are top of mind. Two-thirds of residents believe scenic destinations are the top draw for tourists (65%) (Q23).  

Oregonians unsurprisingly believe people come to visit the state for scenery. Specific mentions included each of Oregon’s Seven Wonders (Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon beaches, the Wallowa Mountains, Crater Lake, Smith Rock, and the Painted Hills), as well as wine country (Q21).  

After natural beauty, residents say that restaurants, breweries, and shopping are the second-largest draw (37%) (Q23). For this category, residents point to urban attractions—including urban greenspaces—such as restaurants and food carts in downtown Portland, people visiting for an event at the Oregon Convention Center, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden (Q21).  

“Being able to go from coastal beaches to snow-capped mountains to expansive forests to flat desert, all within a few hours of each other in the same state.”  

Woman, age 30–44, Lane County, Black or African American 

“Eating at all the different food carts in Portland, going downtown and checking out the Rose Garden, Shanghai tunnels, etc.”  

Man, age 30–44, Clackamas County, white 

Not all residents are thrilled with tourism in Oregon, which can make it more difficult for in-state residents to hike, bike, fish, camp, and enjoy the state’s natural resources (Q21).  

“Crater lake and all the other wilderness areas that get trashed or overcrowded by out of state visitors each summer.”  

Woman, age 30–44, Klamath County, Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native 

Some residents in the Portland region are embarrassed tourists will see a visible and significant homeless crisis, alongside lots of illegally dumped trash (Q21).

“Portland used to be attractive for tourists. Now I feel it’s best to avoid the city and focus on the excursions into nature instead. The homeless crisis and overall decay evident in the city is embarrassing.”  

Woman, age 45–54, Washington County, Asian 

The Positives and Negatives of Tourism

Most Oregonians say tourism has a lot or some impact on traffic congestion in their community (61%) (Q22a). Folks say tourism has a greater impact on congestion than any other issue (Q22a–g).  

These results are similar to 20211, when 63% of Oregonians said tourism contributed to traffic congestion.  While many residents do believe that tourism can drive up rents and exacerbate homelessness, these views are less common. About half say tourism has some or a lot of impact on Oregon’s lack of affordable housing (45%), while about one-third say tourism impacts the homelessness crisis (34%) (Q22c, Q22e).  

Oregonians also recognize the benefits that tourism brings to the state, especially when it comes to a strong economy (Q22b).  Two-thirds of Oregonians say tourism contributes to a strong economy (67%). This result is unchanged from 2021 (68%).  Fewer believe tourism contributes to funding for public services (51%), a high quality of life for residents (48%), or well-paying jobs (48%) (Q22d, Q22f, Q22g).  

A scant 50% of Oregonians support charging tourists an extra fee during peak times, with revenues invested back into the community. Support is not strong (Q24).  While many residents complained about tourists in their open-ended remarks, most recognized the benefits they bring to the state as well. That could explain why a plurality of residents say they lean toward supporting the idea of a fee (31%), and one in five say they squarely support one (19%).  

What Covid Precautions Do Oregonians Want in Place this Summer?

For indoor events this summer, residents in Oregon are nearly split as to whether masks or vaccinations should be required, or whether no COVID precautions are necessary. No single approach is supported by a majority of residents.  

While 40% of Oregonians say masks should be required for indoor events this tourist season, nearly as many (35%) say no precautions at all are needed. Some feel that proof of vaccination is the better requirement (37%) (people could choose several answers). (Q25).

Most Oregonians don’t see a need for COVID precautions at events taking place outdoors this summer (57%).  When it comes to outdoor events, those who feel precautions are warranted are most likely to support a requirement for proof of vaccination (23%). (Q25)

Oregonians are Excited About a Lively Summer

Oregonians generally believe increased tourism this summer will be a good thing for local communities (71%). They are eager to pump more dollars into businesses and to enjoy activities that have been cancelled previously due to COVID (Q26–Q27a).  Eight in ten Oregonians say tourism in their area will pick back up this year (82%) (Q26). (This is a big jump from 2021, when Oregonians demonstrated they were not sure how travel choices would impact their local communities, with only 41% predicting tourism would pick up that year with more people choosing to stay in Oregon for vacation.)  

Of those folks, 71% say they feel positively about more people visiting their community (as compared to 75% in 2021). They say that visitors will generate more income for local businesses and may even create more jobs. People are also hungry for a sense of normalcy and a way to connect as a community (Q27, Q27a).  

“A lot of the wineries, breweries, shops, etc. are locally/family owned, so the more tourists we get, the more money they make. Traffic flow and construction will contribute to a lot of headaches this summer, though.”  

Woman, age 18–29, Yamhill County, white 

“We so need to gather again, sharing food, live music, arts & communion!”  

Nonbinary or gender nonconforming, age 65–74, Lane County, Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native 

Some Residents Fear Negative Effects

Not all residents are thrilled about more visitors as some feel they already bear the brunt of overcrowding and tourism to out-of-town home buyers who drive up prices (Q28b).  

“We are having to pay increased property taxes to maintain and increase infrastructure. Out of town residents are buying second homes here and increasing prices so they can visit and recreate. Tourism creates lower-paying jobs and isn’t as stimulating to the economy.”  

Woman, age 75+, Deschutes County, white 

“The people with money who own all the vacation rentals don’t care about the community. It’s a horrible place to try and survive. The jobs pay minimum wage barely.”  

Man, age 30–44, Lincoln County, white 

Demographic Trends

Identifying what unites us, understanding what divides us.

Reported below are statistically significant subgroup differences between BIPOC and white Oregonians, urban and rural Oregonians, and age groups.  Many of these differences are not major and are presented to inform public education and communications initiatives.   

Does Tourism Create a Strong Economy?

Older Oregonians are more likely to draw a connection between tourism in the state and a strong economy (Q22b).  More than eight in ten residents over the age of 75 in Oregon say that tourism contributes some or a lot to a strong economy (82%). That figure falls steadily across age groups, down to 58% for people 18–29. Those under 45 are more likely to be unsure (13–14%).  

Residents statewide agree tourism can boost the economy, but urban residents are more likely to say tourism supports good jobs and a high quality of life (Q22b, Q22d, Q22f).  

Both rural and urban residents say that tourism contributes a lot or somewhat to a strong economy (65%, 69%) (Q22b). Yet urban residents are nearly 20 percentage points more likely to say tourism contributes a lot or some to well-paying jobs than rural residents (58% to 39%) (Q22d).  Urban residents are also more likely than rural residents to attribute a high quality of life to the impacts of tourism (55% to 46%) (Q22f).  

Oregonians under 30 are the group most likely to say that tourism contributes to the state’s lack of affordable housing (56%) (Q22c).  

Half or fewer residents in other age groups believe that tourism a contributing factor to the housing crisis (34–50%) (Q22c).  Residents under 30 are also more likely to link tourism to homelessness with 46% in agreement on this, and belief diminishing with age down to 21% of those 65 or older (Q22e).  

When comparing BIPOC and white Oregonians, differences are similar, which may be due in large part to the fact that more BIPOC residents are younger. Among BIPOC, 51% associate tourism with higher housing prices (Q22c) and 43% associate tourism with homelessness, compared to 43% and 31% for white residents (Q22e). 

Should Tourism Fees be Implemented?

Nearly one-third of Oregonians say legalized marijuana is the top tourist draw (29%) (Q23). Oregonians under 30 are most likely say this is true (44%, and reducing with age to 15% for those 75 or older).  

Oregonians under 45 are the most likely demographic group to support a fee on tourists to support community investment (Q24).  

Between 54% and 55% of Oregonians under the age of 45 support a tourist fee for peak times, while 42% and 50% of older Oregonians would support such a fee.  

Vaccine Requirements for Indoors and Outdoors

As tourists flock to Oregon for the summer, vaccination requirements and masks are most preferred by urban residents—although a majority of residents say no precautions are needed outdoors (Q25).  

Among urban residents 31% hope for a proof of vaccination requirement at outdoor events this season, compared to 12% of rural residents.  For indoor events, 47% of urban residents would prefer a mask mandate, compared to 29% of rural residents.  

BIPOC residents are generally more supportive of precautions for outdoor events than white residents, but those differences dissipate for indoor events (Q25).   

BIPOC residents are more likely than white residents to support vaccination requirements at outdoor events (29% to 21%), and they are significant more likely to support masks and proof of boosters for outdoor events (18% and 16%, compared to 11% and 11%).  

However, for indoor events, the only significant difference between BIPOC and white Oregonians is support for a negative COVID test (21% BIPOC to 16% white).  

Older residents are more likely to favor masks and booster shots for indoor events (Q25).  

Nearly half of Oregonians 75 and older—among those most at risk for serious illness—say masks should be required at indoor events this summer (49% to 35–44% for other age groups).  

There are few differences by age group for a vaccination requirement (32–42%), but people 75 and older are more likely to prefer booster requirements (26% to 15–22% for other age groups).  

Feelings that an influx in tourism this summer will be a good thing for the community are higher among older Oregonians (Q27).   

Most people think that more tourism this summer will be positive, and those figures rise with age from 60% for people under 30 to 84% for people 75 and older. 

Methodology: The online survey consisted of 1,674 Oregon residents ages 18+ and took approximately 15 minutes to complete. Respondents were contacted by using professionally maintained online panels. In gathering responses, a variety of quality control measures were employed, including questionnaire pre-testing, validation, and real-time monitoring of responses. To ensure a representative sample, demographic quotas were set, and data weighted by area of the state, gender, age, and education. 

Statement of Limitations: Based on a 95% confidence interval, this survey’s margin of error for the full sample is ±2.4%. Due to rounding or multiple answer questions, response percentages may not add up to 100%. 

Title IX: Knowledge and Experience - 06/14/22

From May 6–16, 2022, the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center conducted a statewide survey of Oregonians’ values and beliefs, including knowledge of and experience with Title IX. The question numbers in this document correspond with the survey questionnaire (Q1, Q3, Q4, Q6a, Q6b, Q9, Q9a, Q17–18a).  

A little more than one-third of Oregonians describe themselves as familiar with Title IX (38%). College educated Oregonians are the most familiar (63%) (Q1).  

A nearly identical 37% say they are not at all familiar with the legislation. 

Oregonians who graduated from college are the demographic group most familiar with Title IX (63%). This is likely due to Title IX’s impact on university sports in particular. 

About half as many Oregonians with some college are familiar with the protections (36%), and far fewer Oregonians with a high school education are familiar (18%).  

 

Interestingly, men describe themselves as more familiar with Title IX than women (41% to 35%). However, often in surveys men tend to say they are more familiar with the subject matter than women regardless of the topic, which could contribute to this difference. The difference could also be due in part to increased interest in sports generally among men. 

Title IX Refers to Athletics AND Education

A healthy majority of residents already familiar with Title IX know that it applies to both athletics and education (60%) (Q3).  Additionally, another 12% who are familiar with Title IX think that it only applies to sports, for a total of 72% aware of the impact on athletics.  Among the groups most likely to be familiar with Title IX—college graduates and people 65-74 years old—about two-thirds are aware that the legislation applies to both education and athletics (67–68%).  

Those already familiar with Title IX say Title IX is the main or a major factor in the growth of women’s sports (72%) (Q4).  This perception is especially true for those 75 or older, as well as for college graduates (both 81%).  

“History has proved [Title IX] was the right move. Women’s athletics are far more popular at the local and collegiate levels. And women’s professional sports leagues have taken off. And the woman athlete today is far stronger, quicker, faster, and athletic than she was back in “the day.” Their games are every bit as exciting to watch as the men’s, their fan base just as rabid.”

Man, age 55–64, Marion County, Hispanic or Latino/a/x 

If You Played Sports, You’re Probably More Familiar with Title IX

People familiar with Title IX are more likely to have played school-sponsored sports at some time from childhood through college (Q6).  Three-fourths of people very or somewhat familiar with Title IX have played a school-sponsored sport (77%), compared to 60% of folks who are not at all familiar with Title IX.  

College graduates specifically—who are more familiar with Title IX and more likely to believe it has been influential for women in sports—are also more likely to have played a sport at any time in during their education (74%).  Oregonians who attained some college education are similarly likely to have played a sport (72%), while residents with high school education are the least likely to have played sports (59%).  

Are there Equal Resources Provided for Each Team?

Men are more likely to report playing a school sport during their education (Q6).  Men in Oregon are 19-percentage points more likely than women to have played school sports (78% to 59%) (Q6).  Meanwhile, 47% of women believe that their teams were given fewer resources than the boys’ or men’s teams (Q6a). 

A plurality of women who did play sports believe their teams were given fewer resources than boys’ or men’s teams at the same school. Many are unsure whether the resources were distributed equally (16%), leaving one-third of women who believe resources were fairly shared (36%) (Q6a).  

Women college graduates are especially likely to say that resources for women’s or girls’ teams were diminished (58%), compared to 45% of women with some college education and 40% of women high school graduates (Q6a).  

Former women athletes report fewer resources for equipment, travel, and use of sports facilities to practice. They also described low morale due to extra attention for boys’ teams. Some—at small schools or where girl’s teams excelled—said the teams were treated fairly (Q6b). 

“I graduated from high school in 1973. Title IX was brand new, and I attended a private school, so it did not apply. I wish it had. We had practically no practice time in the gym where we were meant to then compete, so there was no home court advantage. I wore the basketball uniform that my 5-years-older brother had worn. 

Woman, age 65–74, Multnomah County, White 

“I think they were given the same amount of financial support, but not enthusiasm, parent and staff involvement, nor publicity as the boys’ team.” 

Woman, age 30–44, Washington County, Black or African American

“Boys always had better schedule days and times. Better facilities for their championship games, usually in stadium type settings whereas we just played on the school fields. Much more promotion of the games.”  

Woman, age 55–64, Clatsop County, Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native 

Which Team Has More of an Advantage?

Just 6% of Oregonians believe that girls’ or women’s sports teams are more advantaged than boys’ or men’s teams. Most believe that boys’ or men’s teams have the advantage, although many are unsure (51%, 17%) (Q9).  Men and women are about equally likely to say that boys’ or men’s teams are more advantaged than girls’ or women’s teams in the schools in their area (49% and 52%).  

“I go to college in Oregon now, and the difference between the men’s and women’s teams are astounding. Both in advertising and celebration of the teams.”  

Woman, age 18–29, Benton County, Asian and White 

“Traditionally boys’/men’s sports bring in more revenue for the school and the district therefore they should be provided a larger budget overall. For better equipment, better trainers, more individual focus sports nutrition and physiology training to enhance the quality of the athletes which in turn will draw larger crowds making the school more money.”  

Man, age 55–64, Marion County, race not provided

“Girls’ sports don’t get the big spending, but they also don’t generally get the same level of spectator participation as boys’ sports. Maybe they would if more was spent developing and promoting them.” 

Woman, age 30–44, Klamath County, Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native 

Title IX Controversies

Few Oregonians are aware of any controversies about Title IX related to either athletics or education in their area of Oregon (5%, 4%) (Q17, Q18).  The groups most likely to recall an issue related to athletics include college graduates and Multnomah County residents (8% each) (Q17).  One in ten residents who are very familiar with Title IX say they recall a Title IX issue in their community that was not related to athletics (10%) (Q18).  

Those who could recall an athletics-related Title IX controversy pointed to two primary issues: transgender athletes in sports and a dispute over girls’ softball at Grant High School in Portland. Many of the comments related to national, not local, issues (Q17).  

“I saw a political commercial for a gubernatorial candidate in which he brags about fighting a transgender player on a girls’ team. I recognized the athlete in the commercial.”  

Non-binary or gender non-conforming, age 65–74, Multnomah County, Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native 

“Baseball vs Softball at Grant HS. Softball facility was left out of remodel design. Baseball got a new facility. Softball folks protested and now are getting a new facility.”  

Man, age 75+, Multnomah County, White 

For non-athletic Title IX controversies, residents again pointed to transgender issues like the use of bathrooms, as well as sexual assault issues.  

“It involved a student who sexually assaulted other students wanting accommodations to be allowed back to school.”  

Women, age 45–54, Jackson County, White 

“A teacher and an administrator started a conservative group that was considered anti-trans. They made a video, got fired, and then got rehired, triggering protests by students.”  

Man, age 30–44, Josephine County, White 

 

Demographic Trends 

Identifying what unites us, understanding what divides us.

Reported below are statistically significant subgroup differences between BIPOC and white Oregonians, urban and rural Oregonians, and age groups.  Many of these differences are not major and are presented to inform public education and communications initiatives.   

More Familiarity for Older Age Groups

Oregonians 65 to 74 are the age group most likely to demonstrate awareness of Title IX (52%). These folks were in their teens and early 20s when President Nixon signed the legislation into law in 1972 (Q1).  Awareness among Oregonians 75 and older is also high, comparatively (48%).  Awareness falls to 41–42% for people 45–64 and falls more precipitously to 27–28% for people under 45.   

The perceived impact of Title IX on the growth in women’s sports rises with age (Q4).  

About two-thirds of Oregonians under the age of 45—who are at least somewhat familiar with Title IX—say that it is has been the main or a major factor in the growth of women’s sports (64–66%).  That figure grows progressively as ages rise, to 70–73% for middle-aged Oregonians and to 77–81% for Oregonians 65 and older.  

More Oregonians Participated in School Sports after Title IX

A far greater percentage of younger Oregonians have participated in school sport (Q6).  

Whereas 58–63% of Oregonians 55 and older played a sport in elementary, middle, high school, or college, 72–78% of Oregonians under the age of 55 have played a school sport.   

Older Oregonians are more critical of the current resource allocation between girls’ and women’s teams and boys’ and men’s teams in the schools in their part of Oregon (Q9).  

About six in ten Oregonians 65 and older believe that boys’ and men’s teams have a financial advantage over girl’s or women’s team in school sports in their community (58–59%).  This figure drops as ages decline, to 48–53% of Oregonians 44 to 64 and again to 46% of Oregonians under the age of 44.  

Across all these Title IX issues, there are no statistically significant differences between BIPOC and white Oregonians (Q1, Q3, Q4, Q6, Q6a, Q9, Q17, Q18). 

Methodology: The online survey consisted of 1,674 Oregon residents ages 18+ and took approximately 15 minutes to complete. Respondents were contacted by using professionally maintained online panels. In gathering responses, a variety of quality control measures were employed, including questionnaire pre-testing, validation, and real-time monitoring of responses. To ensure a representative sample, demographic quotas were set, and data weighted by area of the state, gender, age, and education. 

Statement of Limitations: Based on a 95% confidence interval, this survey’s margin of error for the full sample is ±2.4%. Due to rounding or multiple answer questions, response percentages may not add up to 100%. 

This survey uses aggregated data to analyze the opinions of BIPOC residents in comparison to the opinions of residents who identify as white and not another race. BIPOC residents are not a monolith; the grouping represents a wide diversity of races and ethnicities. The findings included in this memo should not be construed such that all people of color are believed to share the same opinions. Disaggregated race data will be provided when sample sizes permit reliability. 

Title IX: Opinions - 06/07/22

From May 6-19, 2022, the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center conducted a statewide survey of Oregonians’ values and beliefs, including how they feel about the federal law known as Title IX. The question numbers in this document correspond with the survey questionnaire (Q2, Q7-8, Q10-16, Q19-20, Q28).  

A Positive Outlook on Title IX

Respondents were provided the following preamble: “June marks the 50th anniversary of the federal law Title IX, a law that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 

Among Oregonians who claim to be familiar with Title IX, two-thirds (66%) said they view the law mostly positively, while 5% say they view it mostly negatively, and 22% view it with an equal mix of negative and positive feelings (Q2). 

 

  • Democrats are more likely to view Title IX positively (79%) than Republicans (46%) and Independents (58%).
  • Notably, men and women are equally as likely to view the law positively (66% and 65%, respectively).
  • Positive impressions increased with higher education and income levels, including 42% among Oregonians with a high school diploma or less education, compared to 79% among college graduates.

Popular Choice: Create a New Team

If a girl wants to join a school-run sport traditionally limited to boys, or a boy wants to join a school-run sport traditionally limited to girls, Oregonians tend to think the best approach for both situations is to create a new team for that sport (if there’s enough interest among participants) for those genders who are not currently represented (Q7-8). For example: 

  • 45% say that if a girl wants to join a school-run sport traditionally limited to boys (like baseball, football, or wrestling), the school should create a girls’ team, given sufficient interest (Q7). This was the preferred approach to this situation for both men and women respondents. It was also the top approach for all political persuasions, regardless of how familiar the respondent was with Title IX.
  • 48% say that if a boy wants to join a school-run sport traditionally limited to girls (like volleyball, softball, or dance team), the school should create a boys’ team, given sufficient interest (Q8). As in the previous question, this was the preferred approach to this situation for both men and women. It was also the top approach for all political persuasions and regardless of how familiar the respondent was with Title IX.

Aspects of Title IX: Sex-Based Harassment

Respondents were provided a list of aspects of Title IX and were asked whether they support each (Q10-12). A majority of Oregonians support each aspect but survey responses show varying degrees of support.

86% support Title IX’s protections for all students and those involved with schools that receive federal dollars from sex-based harassment, with 69% definitely supporting this aspect of the law (Q10).   

86% of both men and women support this aspect of Title IX. Strong percentages of Democrats (94%), Republicans (79%), and Independents (85%) support this aspect of the law.  A large majority of Oregonians support this protection, regardless of formal education, with 76% of those with a high school education or less, 88% of those with some college, and 94% supporting this aspect of Title IX.  

Aspects of Title IX: Sexual Orientation

76% support that the current interpretation of Title IX protects students and those involved with schools that receive federal funding from being excluded or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, with 57% definitely supporting this aspect of the law (Q11).  

  • 76% of both men and women support this aspect of Title IX.
  • Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans (91% vs. 55%) to support this aspect of the law.
  • Multnomah County residents are slightly more likely to support this aspect of the law compared to Oregonians from other parts of the state (83% vs. 74%).
  • Support drops a bit compared to sex-based harassment, but there remains clear support for this aspect of Title IX regardless of education, with 69% of those with a high school education or less, 77% of those with some college, and 84% supporting this aspect of Title IX.

Aspects of Title IX: Protecting Transgender Students

64% support the current interpretation of Title IX protecting students and those involved with schools that receive federal funding from being excluded or discriminated against if they are transgender, with 45% definitely supporting this aspect of the law (Q12).  

  • Women are a bit more likely than men to support this aspect of the law (68% vs. 59%).
  • Again, there is a massive political divide on this aspect of Title IX, with Democrats more than twice as likely as Republicans to support it (86% vs. 32%). Independents (62%) are close to the overall average in their support.

Oregonians are split on whether transgender students should be allowed to play on sports teams that match their current gender identity (41%), or transgender students should only be allowed to play on sports teams that match the gender they were assigned at birth (39%). A high percentage of Oregonians (21%) are unsure (Q13).  

 

  • Notably, a plurality of women (46%) supports the first option, whereas a plurality of men (46%) supports the second.
  • Again, the largest divide in opinions is along political lines, with 62% of Democrats supporting the first option and 74% of Republicans supporting the second.
  • Oregonians with higher levels of familiarity with Title IX tended to lean towards the first option, with 47% of those who are very or somewhat familiar with Title IX compared to 36% of those who are only a little or not at all familiar with it.
  • The high level of unsure responses indicates this is an emerging issue and opinions are still being shaped by media and thought leaders.

Opinions on Bathrooms

In a related question, one-half (50%) of Oregonians agree that transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match their current gender identity, whereas 30% feel that transgender students should only be allowed to use bathrooms that match their birth gender. Again, a notable 20% were unsure (Q15).  

 

  • Women are more likely than men to feel that transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match their current gender identity (55% vs. 42%).
  • Again, there is a large political divide on this issue, with a strong majority of Democrats (75%) feeling that transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match their current gender identity, compared to a majority of Republicans (66%) who feel that transgender students should only be allowed to use bathrooms that match their birth gender.
  • Multnomah County residents are more likely than Oregonians from other parts of the state to feel that transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match their current gender identity (66% vs. 46%).
  • 50% of Oregonians both with school-age children and without kids agree that transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match their current gender identity.

Does More Information Change the Outlook?

Respondents who said transgender students should only be allowed to play on sports teams that match their birth gender on Q13 were provided the following information: “Studies have shown that for transgender youth who are at schools that affirm their gender identity, their risk of poor mental health and suicidality decreases.” Knowing this, 85% of these respondents still said that they feel the same way: transgender students should only be allowed to play on sports teams that match their birth gender. 13% said they feel less certain of their opinion and would have to learn more or think about it (Q14). 

  • Although a relatively small sample size, women were twice as likely as men (18% vs. 9%) to say they feel less certain of their opinion after being provided that information.
  • Again, a relatively small sample size, but Democrats were five times as likely as Republicans (25% vs. 5%) to say they feel less certain of their opinion after being provided that information.

Respondents who said that transgender students should only be allowed to use bathrooms that match their birth gender on Q15 were provided the following information: “Studies show that preventing transgender students from accessing bathrooms that match their gender identity is associated with harmful mental health indicators like suicide.” Knowing this, 88% of these respondents still said that they feel the same way: transgender students should only be allowed to use bathrooms that match their birth gender. 10% said they feel less certain of their opinion and would have to learn more or think about it (Q16). 

Extra Ways to Increase Equality with Title IX

Oregonians were asked about ways in which Title IX might be used to enforce other aspects of equality in federally-funded schools, as well as which aims of the law they most strongly agree with (Q19).  

89% feel it is appropriate for Title IX to be used to make sure science and technology opportunities in schools are a welcoming space for girls and women (Q19). A strong majority of all demographic groups supported this enforcement goal.  

82% feel it is appropriate for Title IX to be used to bring more sports opportunities for all students into public middle schools. Again, a strong majority of all demographic groups supported this goal.  

72% feel it is appropriate for Title IX to be used to enforce equal broadcasting time for women/men college sports on TV. Women are more likely than men to feel this way (79% vs. 63%), as are Democrats compared to Republicans (82% vs. 56%).  

All Schools Levels are Equally Important to Enforce Title IX

When asked to name which age group most benefits from Title IX protections, one-half of Oregonians (49%) said all school levels are equally important for Title IX enforcement. The next highest responses were high school (12%) and that it depends on which part of Title IX is being evaluated (11%) (Q20).  Women were more likely than men to say all school levels are equally important (56% vs. 41%), as were Democrats compared to Republicans (64% vs. 29%).  One-half of Oregonians both with school-age children and without kids say all school levels are equally important.  

At the end of the survey, respondents were able to provide an open-ended comment about any part of the survey. Below are several quotes related to Title IX (Q28).  

“I am completely convinced that Title IX has made a tremendous difference in women’s sports. During the Olympics and March Madness, I enjoy just as much watching women complete as watching men. The skill level of women athletes has become very high, and I’m sure the opportunities provided by Title IX to girls and young women have been greatly beneficial.”  

Man, age 65-74, Clackamas County, White 

“We need to become more creative in our solutions around sports for our kids and the things that make our communities livable for the people who are here all the time.” 

Woman, age 45-54, Lane County, Asian and White 

“I think consideration for the non-transgender kids should be important. It seems only the transgender and homosexual kids get any protection and consideration.”  

Woman, age 55-64, Washington County, Black or African American 

“Title IX was important in my life as I did play sports and it did very much make a difference in high school.”  

Woman, age 55-64, Clatsop County, Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native and White 

“Title IX sounds good but can have a devastating impact on female sports programs and threaten the privacy of females. The current law has no common sense incorporated into it. It currently is anti-female in its implementation.”  

Man, age 75+, Washington County, Hispanic/Latino/a/x, Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native, and White 

“I would like to comment about Title IX and transgender youth competing in sports. Does a biological male who has transitioned to female have a physical advantage over biological females?  Until this can be proven or disproven, I don’t think it’s fair to allow the mixing of transgender/non-transgender (students) on the playing field…I am not opposed to transgender but this whole issue is so new that only in time will some fair and realistic solutions be determined.”  

Prefer not to provide gender, age 65-74, Multnomah County, prefer not to provide race/ethnicity  

Demographic Trends

Identifying what unites us, Understanding what divides us.

Reported below are statistically significant subgroup differences between BIPOC and white Oregonians, urban and rural Oregonians, and age groups.  Many of these differences are not major and are presented to inform public education and communications initiatives.   

  • BIPOC and white Oregonians are largely in alignment regarding their opinions of the Title IX law and its enforcement, with very few exceptions:
  • Among those who claim to be familiar with Title IX, white Oregonians are more likely to feel positive towards the law than BIPOC Oregonians (70% vs. 54%) (Q2).
  • BIPOC Oregonians are more likely than white Oregonians to feel that transgender students should be allowed to play on sports teams that match their current gender identity (50% vs. 38%) (Q13).

Of those who are familiar with Title IX, positive opinions of the impact it has had increase with age, from 52% among those ages 18-29, gradually increasing to 74% of those ages 75 and older (Q2). Those 18-29 were more likely than older Oregonians to say the impact of Title IX has been an equal mix of negative and positive, with 33% of those under 30, steadily declining down to 13% of those 75 or older.  

  • On the issue of transgender students playing school sports, Oregonians ages 18-29 (56%) are more likely than all other age groups (30-44%) to say that transgender students should be allowed to play on sports teams that match their current gender identity (Q13).
  • Similarly, Oregonians ages 18-29 (65%) are more likely than all other age groups (39-49%) to say that transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match their current gender identity (Q15).
  • Urban Oregonians who are familiar with Title IX are more likely to view it positively than their rural counterparts (69% vs. 57%) (Q2).
  • Urban Oregonians are nearly twice as likely as their rural counterparts to say that transgender students should be allowed to play on sports teams that match their current gender identity (56% vs. 29%) (Q13).
  • Similarly, urban Oregonians are significantly more likely than their rural counterparts to say that transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match their current gender identity (61% vs. 38%) (Q15).

Methodology: The online survey consisted of 1,674 Oregon residents ages 18+ and took approximately 15 minutes to complete. Respondents were contacted by using professionally maintained online panels. In gathering responses, a variety of quality control measures were employed, including questionnaire pre-testing, validation, and real-time monitoring of responses. To ensure a representative sample, demographic quotas were set, and data weighted by area of the state, gender, age, and education. 

Statement of Limitations: Based on a 95% confidence interval, this survey’s margin of error for the full sample is ±2.4%. Due to rounding or multiple answer questions, response percentages may not add up to 100%. 

This survey uses aggregated data to analyze the opinions of BIPOC residents in comparison to the opinions of residents who identify as white and not another race. BIPOC residents are not a monolith; the grouping represents a wide diversity of races and ethnicities. The findings included in this memo should not be construed such that all people of color are believed to share the same opinions. Disaggregated race data will be provided when sample sizes permit reliability.