Friday, May 28, 2010

Expected ethnic change divides whites and non-whites

General Social Survey respondents were asked to estimate the percent change in population of various ethnic groups over the next 25 years (e.g., Hispanics, Asians). Then they were asked: "When you think about these changes in the racial and ethnic make-up of the country in the next 25 years, do you think they will be a very good thing for the country (1), a good thing (2), neither good nor bad (3), a bad thing (4), or a very bad thing (5)?"  The numbers are the scores assigned to each answer. Here are the means by the ethnic group the respondent belongs to:

Mean "ethnic change will be bad" score (N = 1,318)

Scottish 3.14
Swedish 3.11
Italian 3.06
German 3.05
Irish 3.04
French 3.04
English/Welsh 3.02

All Americans 2.94

Polish 2.90
Russian 2.83
Jewish 2.81
Amerindian 2.75
Black 2.71
Chinese/Japanese 2.67
Filipinos 2.62
Mexican 2.57
Puerto Rican 2.45
Asian Indian 2.20

I'm not surprised. Whites have higher means, while non-whites tend to think change will be good for the country. The difference between Americans of Scottish descent and Asian Indians is 1.15 standard deviations--a very large difference.

Here are some correlates for whites :

Correlation with "ethnic change is bad" score

Age .13
Education -.19
Church attendance -.01
Conservatism .14 

So older, less educated, and more conservative whites are more likely to think that ethnic change will be bad for the country.


  1. On what basis do you use "and" rather than "or" in your last assertion?

  2. Anonymous8:12 AM

    Asian Indians seem to be a bit of an aberration here. If I had to guess an explanation, it would be that they are supremely arrogant and think white people are stupid and useless.

  3. Anonymous8:16 AM

    Of course, another explanation is simply that "good for the country" means "good for me", but that wouldn't seem to explain the gap between Indians and Chinese or Filipinos. Maybe Indians are more likely to answer the question from this perspective.

  4. It's interesting that Jews are more in the middle than on the left on this one.


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