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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Diversity is an Emerging Theme Among Latinos

Hispanics (Latinos) now represent the largest minority group in the United States, but they are also an increasingly diverse group--both spatially (in terms of where they live) and culturally (in terms of country of origin). John Logan and Richard Turner of Brown University have just published a "must-read" analysis of Hispanics drawn from the last three censuses--1990, 2000, and 2010. While the average American may assume that Latinos are all from Mexico (or maybe Cuba or Puerto Rico), that is not the case and there are important differences among the country-origin groups. NBC News picked up especially on differences that Logan and Turner found in patterns of residential segregation, in which persons of Mexican origin are not experiencing lower levels of residential segregation over time, whereas all other Hispanic groups are becoming less segregated. Here is a summary from Logan and Turner:
Except for South Americans the neighborhoods where Hispanics live remain much less advantaged than those of whites, and little progress is being made on that front. But there is one important positive sign here: the increasing residential integration with whites of every Hispanic national origin group except Mexicans. This is a phenomenon that has been submerged by analyses of Hispanics as a single large category, and recognizing it is an important payoff from looking more closely at Hispanics’ diverse origins.
No one is quite sure why Mexican Latinos are staying put residentially, but Logan offered a possible explanation:
While Logan is hesitant to pinpoint a reason, like the widely held belief that Latinos are more family oriented, he says it certainly could be a factor. “Kinship networks are very important to where people live,” he says. “They hold people in specific neighborhoods across generations.” 
Overall, this is a fascinating analysis with tons of potential hypotheses for future research.

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