October 26, 2016
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Immigrants More Trusting Of Census Than U.S.-Born Latinos

Hispanic Business, News Report, Staff Reporter

Foreign-born Hispanics are more positive and knowledgeable about the 2010 U.S. Census than are native-born Hispanics, a new survey has found, suggesting that a massive advertising campaign launched earlier this year has paid off.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center in the second half of March, found that foreign-born Hispanics were more likely than the native born to believe that the Census is good for Hispanics, to correctly say the Census cannot be used to determine whether a person is in the country illegally, and to trust the bureau's claim that all personal information would be kept confidential.

The foreign born were also much more likely to have seen something recently from an organization encouraging them to fill out their census form, according to a report on the study put together by Mark Hugo Lopez and Paul Taylor of the Pew Hispanic Center.

Census participation rates among Hispanics have traditionally been lower than those of other groups. In the 2000 Census, the mail return rate among Hispanic households was 69 percent, while for non-Hispanic households it was 79 percent. As part of its effort to increase participation rates among groups that have historically had low levels of census participation, the Census Bureau has spent about 20 percent of its total advertisement budget this year on paid ads aimed at the Hispanic community, mainly Spanish speakers.

While 70 percent of Hispanic adults say the census is good for U.S. Hispanics, the foreign-born were much more likely to think so -- 80 percent verses 57 percent.

Foreign-born Hispanics were also more likely than native-born Hispanics to correctly say the census cannot be used to determine whether or not someone is in the country legally --69 percent versus 57 percent.

And they are more inclined than the native born to trust the Census Bureau to keep their personal information confidential. Eight-in-ten of both groups know that the bureau is required to do so; however, among those who know this, just 66 percent of the native born said they believe the bureau will abide by this requirement, compared with 80 percent of the foreign born.

Hispanics are the nation's largest minority ethnic group. In 2008, they numbered 46.9 million, or 15.4 percent of the total U.S. population, up from 35.3 million in the 2000 Census. Among all Hispanics living in this country, 62 percent are native born and 38 percent are foreign born. Among Hispanic adults, however, just 47 percent are native born while 53 percent are foreign born.

According to the Pew Hispanic survey, nearly half (48 percent) of all Hispanics say they have seen or heard something recently from an organization encouraging them to fill out their census form. But here again, there is a significant difference between the foreign born and the native born in the share who report having seen or heard such messages--56 percent versus 38 percent.

The timing of the Pew Hispanic survey coincided with the arrival of 2010 Census forms in the mailboxes of most U.S. households beginning March 15, with reminder postcards arriving March 22-24. The forms ask for basic information about everyone living in the household as of April 1, 2010, Census Day. In all 1,003 Hispanic adults were surveyed. 

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