Poll: Hispanics In America

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Hispanics in the U.S. watch or listen to English-language television and radio broadcasts at least as much as they do Spanish-language broadcasts, and most seek out books and magazines in English as well. 46 percent watch or listen mostly to English-language broadcasts, and another 17 percent say they watch or listen to news in both English and Spanish. One-third say they listen to or watch mostly Spanish-language broadcasts.

But the Hispanic community divides in their viewing and listening habits: those born in the U.S. overwhelmingly tune in to English- language broadcasts, while the majority of foreign-born Hispanics watch Spanish-language TV or listen to Spanish-language radio.

HISPANICS: TV AND RADIO IN ENGLISH OR SPANISH?

Mostly English
Total
46%
U.S.-born
81%
Foreign-born
23%

Mostly Spanish
Total
36%
U.S.-born
5%
Foreign-born
56%

Both
Total
17%
U.S.-born
14%
Foreign-born
20%

Most Hispanics in the U.S. (52 percent) also read mostly English-language books and magazines; only 36 percent say they read these mostly in Spanish. As with broadcast media, almost all Hispanics born in the U.S. -- 94 percent -- read English-language publications, while a majority of those born in other nations or in Puerto Rico read materials mainly in Spanish.

HISPANICS: BOOKS AND MAGAZINES IN ENGLISH OR SPANISH?

Mostly English
Total
52%
U.S.-born
94%
Foreign-born
25%

Mostly Spanish
Total
36%
U.S.-born
3%
Foreign-born
57%

Both
Total
9%
U.S.-born
3%
Foreign-born
12%

Following The News
Hispanics born outside the U.S. are much more tuned in to news and events happening in Latin America than are U.S. born Hispanics. 43 percent of foreign-born Hispanics follow events in Latin America very closely, while just 17 percent of U.S. born Hispanics do.

HISPANICS: FOLLOW NEWS AND EVENTS FROM LATIN AMERICA?

Very closely
Total
33%
U.S.-born
17%
Foreign-born
43%

Somewhat closely
Total
31%
U.S.-born
34%
Foreign-born
30%

Not too closely
Total
25%
U.S.-born
30%
Foreign-born
21%

Not at all
Total
11%
U.S.-born
20%
Foreign-born
6%

Both U.S.-born and foreign-born Hispanics pay a great deal of attention to news and events in the U.S. Moreover, those Hispanics who have immigrated to the U.S. still pay more attention to its news and events than U.S.-born Hispanics pay to Latin America.

HISPANICS: FOLLOW NEWS AND EVENTS FROM THE U.S.?

Very closely
Total
46%
U.S.-born
39%
Foreign-born
51%

Somewhat closely
Total
38%
U.S.-born
45%
Foreign-born
34%

Not too closely
Total
13%
U.S.-born
14%
Foreign-born
12%

Not at all
Total
2%
U.S.-born
1%
Foreign-born
3%

Hispanics born outside the U.S., along with U.S. born Hispanics who consider another country their family's primary land of ancestry, closely follow the news from their or their family's native country.

FOLLOW NEWS FROM YOUR (OR FAMILY'S) NATIVE COUNTRY?
(Among foreign-born Hispanics & those naming native countries)
Yes, very closely 38%
Yes, somewhat closely 32%
No, not very closely 21%
No, not at all 6%

Two-thirds of U.S.-born Hispanics have access to the Internet, but although the web might make it easier to follow events abroad, few of those born outside the U.S. have access.

HISPANICS: INTERNET ACCESS?

Yes
Total
42%
U.S.-born
67%
Foreign-born
26%

No
Total
58%
U.S.-born
33%
Foreign-born
74%

On the whole, Hispanics believe the media do an accurate job of reporting on Hispanic issues when they do so -- 64 percent of Hispanics say they do. Yet non-Hispanics asked this question said that the media does not do an accurate job of covering Hispanic issues.

DOES THE MEDIA ACCURATELY COVER HISPANIC ISSUES?

Yes
Hispanics
64%
Non-Hispanics
35%

No
Hispanics
30%
Non-Hispanics
42%

Similarly, half of Hispanics said that the portrayal of Hispanic people on television entertainment shows does give an accurate account of Hispanics in America, outnumbering the 29 percent who said those portrayals were too negative. Meanwhile, non-Hispanics tended to think that the shows were inaccurate, although one-fourth did not know.

DO TV SHOWS ACCURATELY REFLECT HISPANICS IN AMERICA?

Yes
Hispanics
50%
Non-Hispanics
26%

No, image is too negative
Hispanics
29%
Non-Hispanics
37%

No, image is too positive
Hispanics
9%
Non-Hispanics
9%

SELLING TO HISPANICS
When it comes to buying products, an overwhelming majority of Hispanics says they are not necessarily more likely to buy from companies that conduct Spanish-language advertising. 67 percent say it makes no difference in their purchasing decisions whether a company conducts some of its advertising in Spanish.

There are some differences in this based on English-language ability: among those who took the survey in Spanish (most of whom said they did not speak English well) 32 percent said they would be more likely to buy from a company advertising in Spanish, while only 10 percent of Hispanics who took the survey in English said they would be more likely to buy from such a company.

HISPANICS: IF A COMPANY ADVERTISES IN SPANISH ARE YOU…?
More likely to buy from them 21%
Less likely to buy from them 6%
It makes no difference 67%

Hispanics at the lower end of the income scale were the most likely to say that Spanish advertising would make a difference. 27 percent of those in households earning under $30,000 said it would; just 14 percent of those earning more than $30,000 said so. In all income groups, though, a majority said it would not matter.

GENDER ROLES AND WOMEN'S ISSUES
Neither Hispanics nor non-Hispanics are convinced that a single mother can do as good a job raising a child as two parents can. 48 percent of Hispanics think a single mother can do as a good a job; 44 percent of non-Hispanics agree. But among both Hispanics and non-Hispanics, strong gender differences emerge on this. Most Hispanic men think a single mother cannot do as good a job, and non-Hispanic men agree. Meanwhile, majorities of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic women believe that a single mother can perform just as well as a two-parent family.

CAN A SINGLE MOTHER DO AS GOOD A JOB AS TWO PARENTS?

Yes
Hispanics
All
48%
Men
35%
Women
59%

Non-Hispanics
All
44%
Men
32%
Women
54%

No
Hispanics
All
46%
Men
60%
Women
34%

Non-Hispanics
All
50%
Men
63%
Women
38%

Among Hispanics, those born outside the U.S. lean toward more conservative views on this issue. 56 percent of Hispanics born in the U.S. say single mothers can do an equally good job, while less than half -- 43 percent -- of those born outside the U.S. agree.

Hispanics are nearly identical to non-Hispanics in their views on working women and single-parent families: majorities of each believe that children are better off if their mother does not work outside the home, and under one-third of each say that the child is just as well off in such cases.

ARE CHILDREN BETTER OFF IF MOTHER STAYS AT HOME?

Yes
Hispanics
67%
Non-Hispanics
61%

No
Hispanics
25%
Non-Hispanics
29%

A majority of Hispanic men and women agree on this point, as do a majority of non-Hispanic men and women. But those Hispanics who have immigrated to the U.S. are much more likely to believe this: over three-fourths of them do, compared to 53 percent of those born in the U.S.

HISPANICS: ARE CHILDREN BETTER OFF IF MOTHER STAYS AT HOME?

Yes
U.S.-born Hispanics
53%
Foreign-born Hispanics
77%

No
U.S.-born Hispanics
38%
Foreign-born Hispanics
17%

Asked to report on how the men that they know look upon women, sharp differences emerge between Hispanics and non-Hispanics. Most Hispanics -- 55 percent -- say that the men they know think of themselves as being better than women, while 58 percent of non-Hispanics say that the men they know treat women as equals.

Among Hispanics, there are differences in the way men and women see this: Hispanic men are split in their assessments of how those in their ranks look upon women, while nearly two-thirds of Hispanic women say that the men they know see themselves as better than women.

This is not the case among non-Hispanics: a majority of non-Hispanic men and women say men treat women as equals, though women are less inclined to think so.

HOW DO THE MEN YOU KNOW TREAT WOMEN?

As equals
Hispanics
All
40%
Men
45%
Women
35%

Non-Hispanics
All
58%
Men
63%
Women
53%

As if men are better
Hispanics
All
55%
Men
45%
Women
64%

Non-Hispanics
All
39%
Men
33%
Women
43%

There are also differences within the Hispanic community between those born in and outside of the U.S. 59 percent of Hispanics born outside the U.S. report that the men they know do not look upon women as equals. But Hispanics born in the U.S. are split in their reporting of this: 49 percent say the men they know do not look on women as equals, 46 percent say those men do.

RELIGION
Hispanics in the U.S. are as likely as non-Hispanics to be regular attendees at religious services, with over one-third of each group doing so either every week or nearly every week. But beyond those regular attendees, differences emerge: Hispanics are less likely to never go to services: only 11 percent never attend, while among non-Hispanics, 21 percent never attend. Among Hispanics, nearly two-thirds of those who attend every week are women.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU ATTEND RELIGIOUS SERVICES?

Every week/almost every week
Hispanics
36%
Non-Hispanics
38%

Once/twice a month
Hispanics
24%
Non-Hispanics
15%

A few times per year
Hispanics
27%
Non-Hispanics
26%

Never
Hispanics
11%
Non-Hispanics
21%

Hispanics are just a bit less likely, however, to say that religious beliefs guide their day-to-day decisions. 38 percent of Hispanics say that their beliefs frequently steer their decision-making, while 46 percent of non-Hispanics say this.

HOW OFTEN DO RELIGIOUS BELIEFS GUIDE YOUR DECISIONS?

Hispanics
Frequently
38%
Occasionally
21%
Once in a while or hardly ever
39%

Non-Hispanics
Frequently
46%
Occasionally
21%
Once in a while or hardly ever
72%

As is the case with non-Hispanics, Hispanics are more likely to turn to religion as they get older: those over the age of 45 are more likely to say that religion guides their daily decisions. So are women: 44 percent of Hispanic women say that religion often guides their day-to-day decisions, while 32 percent of men say this.

And Hispanic Catholics are a bit more likely than non-Hispanic Catholics to express high levels of confidence in the Catholic Church, and both groups have more confidence than the U.S. as a whole. Two-thirds of Hispanics in this poll identified themselves as Catholic, and 59 percent of them say they have either a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the church. 27 percent have some confidence. Meanwhile, 52 percent of non-Hispanic Catholics say they have quite a lot or a great deal of confidence in the church, and 32 percent have some confidence.

CONFIDENCE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

Hispanic Catholics
Great deal/ a lot
59%
Some
27%
Very little
12%

Non-Hispanic Catholics
Great deal/ a lot
52%
Some
32%
Very little
14%

U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRANTS
Both Hispanics and non-Hispanics agree in their belief that immigrants to the U.S. mainly take jobs that Americans do not want. However, Hispanics are overwhelmingly likely to believe this -- 82 percent do -- while 57 percent of non-Hispanics think so. Non-Hispanics are much more likely to say that immigrants take jobs away from Americans, though only one-third believe so.

Among Hispanics, the feeling that immigrants take jobs Americans do not want is slightly lower among U.S. citizens, and those who were born in the U.S.

IMMIGRANTS TO THE UNITED STATES…

Take jobs away from Americans
Hispanics
9%
Non-Hispanics
33%

Take jobs Americans do not want
Hispanics
82%
Non-Hispanics
57%

Both
Hispanics
4%
Non-Hispanics
6%

Nearly one in four Hispanics born outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico say they are already U.S. citizens, and another 10% say they are currently applying for citizenship. 29% of foreign-born Hispanics plan to apply for citizenship, and a third has no definite plans to do so.

CITIZENSHIP AMONG PEOPLE BORN OUTSIDE U.S.

U.S. Citizen
Hispanics
23%
Non-Hispanics
69%

Applying
Hispanics
10%
Non-Hispanics
10%

Plan to apply
29%
Non-Hispanics
13%

No definite plans
Hispanics
36%
Non-Hispanics
7%

Among Hispanics who were not born in the U.S., there are significant differences between those who are naturalized U.S. citizens and those who are not. Naturalized Hispanics tend to have much higher incomes and are better-educated. 73 percent of them report they are registered to vote.

The English skills of naturalized Hispanic citizens are also better than those of non-citizens. Nearly all the Hispanics born outside the U.S. or in Puerto Rico who were not citizens asked to conduct their interview in Spanish, whereas 61 percent of foreign-born citizens did the same. And among Hispanics who asked to do the interview in Spanish, citizens are much more likely than non-citizens to report they are fluent in English or speak it very well.



This poll was conducted among a random sample of 3,092 adults nationwide interviewed by telephone July 13-27, 2003. The sample includes 1,074 Hispanics and 2,008 non-Hispanics. Respondents were weighted to reflect the actual ethnic distribution of the U.S. population. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus two percentage points based on the entire sample. The sampling errors could be plus or minus four percentage points for the Hispanic sample, and plus or minus three percentage points for the sample of non-Hispanics. The sampling error could be plus or minus five percentage points for all Hispanics born in the U.S., and for Hispanics born outside the U.S. or in Puerto Rico.
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  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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