Expert Commentary

Latinos and the 2010 Census: The foreign born are more positive

2010 survey by the Pew Hispanic Center on the relative attitudes of foreign- and U.S.-born Hispanics toward the 2010 Census.

The Hispanic population in the United States grew from 35.3 million in the 2000 Census to 46.9 million (or 15.4% of the total population) in 2008.  Of these, 62% are native born while 38% are foreign born. Historically, Hispanic participation in the census has been lower than other groups. In 2000, their return rate was 69%, compared to 79% for non-Hispanic households. This lead the Census Bureau to dedicate 20% of its ad budget on awareness campaigns aimed at Hispanics.

With the approach of the 2010 Census, the Pew Hispanic Center conducted a nationwide survey in March 2010 of 1,003 Latino adults on their awareness of and attitude toward the Census.  The results were published in “Latinos and the 2010 Census:  The Foreign Born Are More Positive.”

Its findings include:

  • 79% of Spanish-speaking and 69% of bilingual Hispanics are positive and knowledgeable about the census, compared with 53% of English-speaking Hispanics.
  • Foreign-born Hispanics (80%) are more likely to say that the census is good for the Hispanic community, compared with native-born Hispanics (57%).
  • 69% of foreign-born Hispanics are likely to correctly say the census cannot be used to determine whether or not someone is in the country legally, versus only 57% of native-born Hispanics.
  • 56% of foreign-born Hispanics reported that they have received pro-census messages, compared with 38% of native-born Hispanics.
  • 91% of foreign-born Hispanics reported that they have sent in their census form or definitely will, compared with 78% of native-born Hispanics.

In addition, the researchers report, foreign-born Hispanics are also more likely to trust the Census Bureau to keep their personal information confidential.

Tags: California, Hispanic, Latino, race

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