Majority of Americans still view the ‘all-American’ family as straight, white and with children

What does the “all-American” family look like to you?

According to a new study from HP Inc.,75 percent of Americans still identify the all-American family as white and heterosexual with children, while only 25 percent of American families actually match that portrait.

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For the HP All-American Family study, the company collected online survey data from 2,000 adults in the U.S. for the Edelman Intelligence-commissioned questionnaire.

The June 11-19 survey also featured an implicit reaction time test, “a scientific way to measure reaction times to understand implicit feelings and attitudes.”

“The study was reflective of HP’s film, Family Portraits, about a social experiment involving 13 diverse families representative of modern America,” according to the company news release. “In the film, six additional participants were asked to choose from the group who they thought comprised an All-American family portrait. None of the six successfully paired the actual families in the room.”

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Key findings

While 3 in 4 respondents identified an all-American family as white and heterosexual, only 1 in 4 U.S. families actually match that image.

But 80 percent of them agreed that the term is difficult to define considering the country’s diversity.

In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, one in seven infants in the U.S. were multiracial or multiethnic. That's nearly triple the share in 1980.

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Yet, despite the growing diversity, 1 in 3 Americans still say they would be nervous bringing home a significant other of a different race, according to the HP study.

Half of the respondents said their family would prefer a partner of the same race or religion, and one-third said they’ve cut ties with a family member over intolerant views.

Of the Asian-American families surveyed, 45 percent considered themselves “all-American,” and 52 percent said they believe others would share their views.

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But while 68 percent of LGBTQ respondents said they also consider their families all-American, only 58 percent believe others would describe them in the same way.

Family shaming extended beyond race, according to the study. Only 44 percent of respondents said they feel single parents fall under the “All-American” bucket, and hardly half (49 percent) feel families without children do.

Approximately 23 percent of America's 73.7 million children under age 18 live in households with a single mother, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's annual America's Families and Living Arrangements package. Between 1960 and 2016, the percentage of two-parent homes decreased from 88 to 69.

And when it comes to what makes one embody the “All-American” mindset, definitions are certainly evolving. According to the survey, millennials are more likely to describe an “all-American” individual as academic, college-educated and athletic, whereas boomers are more likely to suggest heterosexual middle/lower class, blue collar workers in suburban/rural areas fit the bill.

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Both the study and film are part of HP’s Reinvent Mindsets campaign, aimed at fighting unconscious bias in hiring.

The campaign’s research reinforces “that to connect with everyone, everywhere, we must strip away bias and stereotypes and celebrate our differences,” Lesley Slaton,  HP chief diversity officer, said in a statement. “Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative with our board, leadership team and employees. Studies like t his are a reminder of our responsibility to always reflect our diverse customer base because it mirrors who we are as a company and it is good for business.”

Explore more from HP’s Reinvent Mindsets campaign at