Hispanics Strive for a Better Future While Staying Connected to their Culture

Poll Shows U.S. Hispanics Greatly Value Education, Work, Saving Money, Family and their Culture, but Have Mixed Opinions about Immigration and Government

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chicago, IL – Hispanics in the United States have a multitude of opinions on all aspects of their lives from finances, education, immigration, social relationships and their culture. However, do not let the size and complexities of this group overwhelm you – if you want to understand what U.S. Hispanics want, you just have to listen to what is important to them.

In a recent Ipsos U.S. Hispanic Omnibus study, U.S. Hispanics provided insight into ways they feel they can reach future success, touched upon how they feel about immigration and revealed who the most important people are in their lives.

“Some of the ideas that are very basic to the fabric of American society – pursuing a college education, being a loyal employee, and saving for the future – are also highly valued by Hispanics in the U.S. However, beyond these values they also want and need to maintain strong social and cultural relationships,” according to Cynthia Pelayo, Senior Research Manager.

Education Is Seen as Key to Financial Success

Historically, U.S. Hispanics have not completed high school or college education at rates similar to that of the general population, yet they overwhelmingly agree that a college education is essential for financial success (75%). This opinion is even more prevalent among those with no college education whatsoever (84%) than among those who have any (68%).

Valuing Jobs and Saving Money

U.S. Hispanics treasure their jobs and place great value in saving money.

  • Three quarters of those who work either full-time or part-time (77%) agree that they are loyal to their employer.
  • Nearly nine in ten (86%) agree that saving money for the future is important.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted September 11, 2008 to October 6, 2008, For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 513 Hispanics was interviewed by telephone via Ipsos’ U.S. Telephone Express omnibus. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ± 4.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population Hispanic adults in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Immigration: How Do Hispanics Really Feel?

Immigration has long been a divisive and difficult subject in the United States. Even among U.S. Hispanics, immigration policy has been known to cause controversy, as not all Hispanic groups hold the same views on immigration. Slightly over a quarter of Hispanics (26%) say that people who enter the U.S. illegally have no right to work here. Yet nearly eighty percent (79%) of Hispanics say that immigrant children have a right to pursue an education in the U.S, showing that U.S. Hispanics are often as conflicted about immigration as the general population.

  • Nearly a third of Hispanics aged 35-54 (29%) and over forty percent of Hispanics aged 55+ (42%) agree that people who enter the U.S. illegally have no right to work here.
  • However, views are dramatically different when it comes to the education of immigrant children, as nearly four in five Hispanics aged 35-54 (79%) and three quarters of Hispanics aged 55+ (75%) say that immigrant children have a right to pursue an education in the U.S.
  • U.S. Hispanics show mixed opinions about trusting the government: Nearly half (48%) neither agree nor disagree that they trust the government and the other is split almost evenly among 22% who agree they do and 25% who disagree.

When It Comes to Family or Friends There’s No Question; Family Will Always Come First

Over four in five (84%) of U.S. Hispanics said that family comes before friends. While some differences are seen across demographic groups, there is still strong agreement around this principle.

  • U.S. Hispanics aged 35-54 (87%) are slightly more likely than Hispanics 18-34 (82%), or Hispanics aged 55+ (80%) to say family comes before friends.
  • Nearly nine in ten U.S. Hispanics with a high school education or less (89%) say that family should come before friends.
  • Regardless of whether there are children in the household, family is still more important than friends (82% of those without children say so, compared with 85% of those with children).

Feeling the Need to Hold onto Their Cultural Identity

Knowing their culture and history is a driving force in the lives of U.S. Hispanics. In addition to being interested about their background, U.S. Hispanics also have strong social relationships with people who share their culture.

  • Over seven in ten U.S. Hispanics (72%) agree that it is important for them to know the history of their culture. Attitudes vary little depending on the language of preference or the length of residency in the United States.
  • On average, U.S. Hispanics say that out of ten of their closest friends, six are Hispanics.
  • Additionally, more than four in ten U.S. Hispanics (41%) say that they feel more comfortable being around people of a similar ethnicity. Attitudes vary depending on acculturation (only 17% of those who are defined as acculturated agree vs. 69% of those who are not) and education (60% of those with no college education agree vs. 24% of those with any.
  • Over a third of U.S. Hispanics (38%) say that most of their friends are from their country of origin. Here again, attitudes vary depending on acculturation and education. Among with those with a college degree, only 15% agree.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Cynthia Pelayo
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos Omnibus Services
(312) 777-3953

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Hispanics Strive for a Better Future While Staying Connected to their Culture


Elen Alexov
Director, Marketing Services,
North America