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Testing Huntington: Is Hispanic Immigration a Threat to American Identity?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2007

Jack Citrin
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley, e-mail gojack@berkeley.edu
Amy Lerman
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley, e-mail alerman@berkeley.edu
Michael Murakami
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley, e-mail mmurakam@berkeley.edu
Kathryn Pearson
Affiliation:
University of Minnesota, e-mail kpearson@umn.edu

Abstract

Samuel Huntington argues that the sheer number, concentration, linguistic homogeneity, and other characteristic of Hispanic immigrants will erode the dominance of English as a nationally unifying language, weaken the country's dominant cultural values, and promote ethnic allegiances over a primary identification as an American. Testing these hypotheses with data from the U.S. Census and national and Los Angeles opinion surveys, we show that Hispanics acquire English and lose Spanish rapidly beginning with the second generation, and appear to be no more or less religious or committed to the work ethic than native-born whites. Moreover, a clear majority of Hispanics reject a purely ethnic identification and patriotism grows from one generation to the next. At present, a traditional pattern of political assimilation appears to prevail.Jack Citrin is Professor of Political Science at University of California, Berkeley (gojack@berkeley.edu). Amy Lerman is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at University of California, Berkeley (alerman@berkeley.edu). Michael Murakami is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at University of California, Berkeley (mmurakam@berkeley.edu) and Kathryn Pearson is Assistant Professor Political Science at University of Minnesota (kpearson@umn.edu).

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2007 American Political Science Association

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