Saturday, October 22, 2011

Percentage of ancestral Mexicans racially self-identifying as white by state

Razib Khan recently posted a table showing racial self-identification among those of Mexican ancestry in the US as well as the racial self-identification of those of Mexican ancestry in a selection of states using data from the 2006-2008 American Community Survey. A couple of commenters, including Steve Sailer, noticed an apparent relationship between Republican-leaning states and the percentage of ancestral Mexicans in those states who consider themselves to be white. With Idaho at the top of the list and New York at the bottom, that seems reasonable.

Presumably, the relationship would work via the more conservative, traditional ethos and culture of red states encouraging ancestral Mexicans in those states to identify more strongly with the majority rather than distinct from it, as they would tend to in places like California and Illinois.

To flesh out the accuracy of the observation, I looked at all 50 states (to see an accompanying map, click here*). There looks to be something to it, anyway. The correlation between the percentage of ancestral Mexicans who identify as white and McCain's share of the vote in 2008 is a positive but modest .25 (p = .08).

One issue in attempting to discover how voting patterns correlate with various other behaviors or attributes is the fact that blacks are so politically monolithic. The common perception of Mississippi is that it is a patriotic place, but over one-third of its population is black, so despite having the most conservative white population in the country, there are other more moderate states like Alaska and Utah that show up on electoral maps in a deeper shade of red than Mississippi does. The relationship between the percentage of ancestral Mexicans who identify as white and McCain's share of the non-Hispanic white vote, however, is even weaker, at .18 (p = .21).

What about ancestral Mexicans themselves? Unfortunately, state-level data on Hispanic voting patterns are only available for 13 states where the Hispanic population is substantial enough to report on. Despite that limited sample size, though, the relationship is strongest here--the correlation between the percentage of ancestral Mexicans who identify as white and McCain's share of the Hispanic vote is .51 (p = .07). This appears to mesh well with the narrative presented above--the more Hispanics identify with traditional American values, the more likely they are to identify with the majority white population.

By way of the GSS, consider how well this seems to hold up on the individual level. The following table shows, among those of Mexican ancestry living in the US, political orientation by racial self-identification, with blacks excluded and extending back only as far as the year 2000 for contemporary relevance (n = 713):

Race
Conservative
Moderate
Liberal
White
29.4%
43.9%
26.7%
Other
30.9%
40.0%
29.2%

White ancestral Mexicans are only marginally less liberal than ancestral Mexicans who identify themselves as members of another non-black race are. To the extent that the effect exists, it's pretty weak.

Parenthetically, recall that among the broader American public, people are nearly twice as likely to call themselves conservatives as they are to call themselves liberals. The preceding table shows that among ancestral Mexicans, the conservative and liberal numbers are at parity. Excluding a Cuban population that is decreasing in relevance, Hispanics, irrespective of racial self-conception, are considerably more politically liberal than whites are.

ACS variables used: RACE(100), STATEICP, ANCESTR1(2101, 2102, 2110, 2111, 2130, 2183)

GSS variables used: ETHNIC(17), RACE(1, 3), POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7)

* North Carolina really stands out as having a low percentage of ancestral Mexicans who racially identify as white. Is there an obvious explanation for why this is the case that I'm unaware of?

11 comments:

Randall said...

In reality, however, probably less than 1% of the Mexicans coming here are white.

See:

http://sociobiologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-race-are-hispanics.html

Van said...

Even among those who are 50/50 white/amerindian, which traits are most expressed?

For example, let's say I carry the brown eye trait from my father and blue eye trait from my mother. Am I half brown/half blue? No, I'm just brown.

Of course, most traits are not Mendelian, and are influenced by multiple locations, but which are dominant/partially dominant?

It doesn't matter if the genotype is 50% white and 50% amerindian if the resulting phenotype is 90% amerindian.

hbd chick said...

"Presumably, the relationship would work via the more conservative, traditional ethos and culture of red states encouraging ancestral Mexicans in those states to identify more strongly with the majority rather than distinct from it, as they would tend to in places like California and Illinois."

i thought that perhaps the identification as white (or not) had to do with numbers. if you're mexican and living in east l.a. surrounded by other mexicans, you might be happy to identify as mexican (or hispanic or whatever). if you're mexican and living in north dakota surrounded by white folks, it might be uncomfortable to stand out, so you might identify as white.

dunno what the actual population figures are like, tho.

Steve Sailer said...

How about the correlation between % of Mexicans in a state identifying as white and the % of non-Hispanic whites in a state voting as Republican from the 2008 exit polls?

Audacious Epigone said...

hbd chick,

Good point. I'll look at that tomorrow when I have access to the numbers.

Steve,

It correlates in the 'expected' direction, but at only .18 (p = .21). There are a few anomalous states where ancestral Mexicans are self-identify heavily as non-white--North Carolina being the most salient--that I don't see as obviously explainable that weaken it. Maybe a large black presence makes Hispanics more aware of being minorities themselves? I can conceive of the argument being turned around though--a large black presence making Hispanics more eager to identify as distinct from blacks (that is, as white).

Audacious Epigone said...

Randall,

"White" definitely has a different meaning (actually, many different meanings depending on location) in Latin America than it does in the US and Canada.

Van,

I wonder how much physical appearance tends to play into the racial self-description ancestral Latin Americans offer in comparison to other factors like culture, politics, and personal experience. Obviously it's going to differ at the individual level, but are traits like having light hair coloring considerably more likely to lead one to self-identify as white?

Anonymous said...

Most of the Hispanics coming to the US are (to use an HBD term) MAMBs.

Yet another HBD term added to the urban dictionary:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=MAMB&defid=6154673

Anonymous said...

White = Diaspora European

A simple DNA test will confirm that most of the Hispanics in the US have little, if any, European blood, notwithstanding the hair and skin bleach.

Anonymous said...

Almost all the Hispanics coming to the US are either Amerindian or Mestizo.

Lower class mestizos are (Lisker): 59% Amerindian; 34% European (Spaniard); and 6% black.

Doesn't sound very white to me.

And as Van says, because whites have recessive traits, you could have a mestizo that's genetically 80% European and still wouldn't be white. The person will still look Amerindian and swarthy as hell.

Audacious Epigone said...

Gave it a thumbs up, though without competition I suppose it doesn't matter

Audacious Epigone said...

hbd chick,

Plausible as it sounds, there is no meaningful relationship between the percentage of a state's population that is Hispanic and how likely ancestral Mexicans in that state are to self-identify as white.