Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pew on Hispa-, er, Latino youths in the US

Last December, the Pew Hispanic Center released a report entitled "Between Two Worlds: How Young Latinos* Come of Age in America". For those with an interest in the future socio-cultural environment of the US, there is plenty to think about. Following are a few words on some of those things.

Steve Sailer has observed that subsequent generations of Hispanics are indeed assimilating to US norms of behavior. But they are black norms, not white ones. In a similar vein, they come into the US with socially conservative positions on high-visibility issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Those who have been in country longer, however, are more liberal. Only 25% of young Hispanics feel abortion should be legal, compared to 38% and 58% of second- and third-generation Hispanics. When it comes to same-sex marriage, 39% of the same first-generation Hispanics support it, while 48% and 52% of second- and third-generation Hispanics do.

Relatedly, new arrivals place relatively more responsibility on the shoulders of Hispanics for their underwhelming levels of educational achievement. While 51% of first-generation Hispanics identify the tendency for Hispanic students not to work as hard as other students as a "major reason" for their struggles, only 22% and 11% of second- and third-generation Hispanics do.

First-generation Hispanics are also less perceptive of the relentless bigotry of their new host country than Hispanics who were born here are. Among first-generation Hispanics, 32% assert that they, a family member, or someone they know well has been discriminated against because of race or ethnicity. For those of second and third generations, 40% and 42% say the same. Funny that, in addition to wearing swarthy skin and having a last name like Lopez, being unable to speak English, eating out of a lunch pale under the shade of a tree in a convenience store lot, wearing pointy-toed boots, and listening to the same music one hears while waiting in line for a Six Flags' roller coaster actually makes one less of a target for racial discriminators than only having brown skin and a surname that ends in the letter z does!

To complement a recent post on future demography at the state level, the following table shows composite racial^ percentages of the US population by age cohort:

AgeWhiteHispanicBlackAsianOther
0-1555.3%22.6%14.2%4.2%3.7%
16-2560.9%18.1%14.3%4.2%2.6%
26+69.8%12.9%11.0%4.8%1.5%

(Pacific Islanders are included in the "Asian" category)

Drawing from this table, it looks as though four decades down the road, Hispanic representation among those living in the US will double at the expense of whites. Blacks will tread water, and the Asian share should stay pretty flat as well. Census projections, however, predict a doubling of Asian representation over the same time period. The Census also suggests that the Hispanic share is a little understated, and should be about one-quarter of the total population. These further increases again come at the expense of whites, who are predicted to constitute half of the US population by mid-century. The differences in the preceding table and the Census numbers, of course, are due to immigration--there are lots of people coming here from China and India, but the Asian total fertility rate in the US is right at 2.0, slightly below replenishment.

* Humorously, more than twice as many Hispanics prefer that descriptor over "Latino" (35% to 14%), while half (51%) don't express a preference one way or the other. Even though it is not favored by Hispanics and is less sensible than the term "Hispanic" (Hispanics speak Spanish, not Latin), media types--including Pew, apparently!--are apt to use "Latino". I presume this is because it is more difficult for native English speakers to correctly pronounce "Latino" than "Hispanic"--doing the lipsy thing with the "t" signals a level of cultural sophistication that is to be admired and emulated!

^ Unless otherwise noted, "non-Hispanic" should be assumed to precede each racial category except for "Hispanic".

10 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

It could be that the 2nd- and especially 3rd-generation Hispanics who are more successful and/or assimilated are less likely to identify as Hispanic in the first place.

Peter

dprosenthal said...

So much for the idea that these folks are streaming into America to provide a brighter future for their children. If that were the case, wouldn't they all try to learn to speak English and encourage their children to take advantage of our free system of education?

Anonymous said...

I doubt the use of Latino has anything to do with making you uncomfortable using that word. It's not like it's very hard to say or should require from you that much effort to pronounce correctly. It makes more sense to use "Latino" as it refers to a geographical area. It is synonymous to saying "South American" or "Central American." Not to mention, people are apt to racialize "Hispanics" when we all know there are people of all races with Spanish language ability. Anyways, thinking that use of the term "Latino" is to make non Spanish speakers feel uncomfortable is just silly.

I have lived in both South Florida and Texas and there are definitely some patterns that are forming. I do believe that Latinos are splitting themselves up based on consanguinity. White Spanish speakers are making babies with the white Americans and black (or mostly black) Spanish speakers are making babies with black Americans. Soon we will be left with a mass of only indigenous Indian and Mestizos. Growing up in Texas, I know quite a few kids who have one Latino parent and one white parent who came out looking very phenotypically white and are socially and culturally white, with the exception of when they want to apply for medical school and want to get in on their first try. Suddenly, they "find" their heritage ;).
This, in addition to absorption of white and black Latinos into their respective populations, makes me skeptical that those self reported numbers will always stay that high. that whiter looking (and more It is likely higher IQ) Latinos will more than likely distance themselves from their lower IQ breathren, and be more likely to stop using the Latino descriptor altogether. Whether or not the Latinos with more Euro ancestry have enough IQ to keep up with their purely white counterparts remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Oops, meant to say
"I believe that that whiter looking (and more than likely higher IQ) Latinos will more than likely distance themselves from their lower IQ breathren, and be more likely to stop using the Latino descriptor altogether"

I'm using a tiny netbook and I can't read very clearly. Damn these things.

Anonymous said...

"Anyways, thinking that use of the term "Latino" is to make non Spanish speakers feel uncomfortable is just silly."

No, it's a way for pretentious white liberals (and race hustlers) to demonstrate their cultural sophistication, like "African-American".

Stopped Clock said...

I think at least in theory the purpose of "Latino" is to bring in Brazilians and people from the Guyanas who don't speak Spanish, but despite having grown up in an area with lots of Brazilians and Hispanics, I never did hear Brazilians identifying as Latinos. They just said Brazilian or white or black.

Audacious Epigone said...

Peter,

Interesting point. The methodology, which is at the very beginning of the report, does not indicate how Latinos were identified. But I'd guess that "Hispanic/Latino" is almost universally based on self-identification, so that could well be the case, especially for those of mostly European ancestry. That may actually allow for a more apples-to-apples comparison, though, as I suspect first-generation Hispanics in the US tend to be more Amerindian and less European than third-generation or older Americans who trace their ancestry back to somewhere in Central or South America.

DP Rosenthal,

Although there is no mention of it in the post, Pew reports that first-generation Hispanics do find it less important that their children become proficient in English than second- and third-generation Hispanics do.

Anon,

I don't claim access to any definitive evidence as to why media types prefer Latino over Hispanic when Hispanics themselves prefer the latter over the former. Although they are basically used interchangeably in the US, they are not semantically synonymous--Latin Americans, as Stopped Clock points out, should include Brazilians and those from French Guiana, while Hispanics should include Spaniards.

What do seem to be attempts at demonstrating cultural sophistication are instances of the word being spoken with as much Spanish language inflection as possible, as though for a moment they are switching from speaking English to speaking Spanish and then immediately switching back again.

Anonymous said...

Neither Hispanic nor Latino makes any sense, and is mainly an attempt by Americans to ignore the baffling array of actual ethnicities and nationalities south of the border. The political class doesn't care about all that anyway, they just want money and power like always.

Dragon Horse said...

"First-generation Hispanics are also less perceptive of the relentless bigotry of their new host country than Hispanics who were born here are. Among first-generation Hispanics, 32% assert that they, a family member, or someone they know well has been discriminated against because of race or ethnicity. For those of second and third generations, 40% and 42% say the same. Funny that, in addition to wearing swarthy skin and having a last name like Lopez, being unable to speak English, eating out of a lunch pale under the shade of a tree in a convenience store lot, wearing pointy-toed boots, and listening to the same music one hears while waiting in line for a Six Flags' roller coaster actually makes one less of a target for racial discriminators than only having brown skin and a surname that ends in the letter z does!"

lol, many Hispanic immigrant communities have limited contact with nonHispanics on a social level. They also don't fully understand the langauge and culture. Kind of like you live in China and don't speak Mandarin or the local dialect and don't understand people calling you a "devil" all the time or why they are staring at you, how they disrespect you according to their cultural norm, etc.

However, your Chinese wife might understand it quite well.

2nd and 3rd generation Hispanics are often more integrated, speak the language, understand the culture, and come into contact with other native born Americans far more often. So they start to understand racial and condescending attitudes that are more subtle. They also are more likely to compete for work that is not blue collar labor, with native born Americans and so likely to see employment and promotion discrimination.

This does not mean that all the people who claim discrimination really were discriminated against, but it is not rocket science that a 2nd or 3rd generation American would see more discrimination than a new immigrant.

Audacious Epigone said...

Dragon Horse,

That's a different interpretation of why responses vary by time in country. Do you assume, then, that first-gen immigrants are really unperceptive, because the putative discrimination directed at immigrants would be more overt and widespread for those who are much more ostensibly foreign than for those who more or less look like one-eighth of the general population and fit into the mainstream culture.

Also, I'd assume that to the extent it occurs, irrational discrimination would be more acute in blue collar work than in white collar work. Why is it not so?