Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Three-Fourths of Hispanics Say Their Community Needs a Leader: Most Hispanics Cannot Name One

Three-quarters of Latinos living in the United States say that their community needs a national leader, but about the same share either cannot name one or don't believe one exists, according to a new national survey of Hispanic adults by the Pew Research Center.

When asked to name the person they consider "the most important Hispanic leader in the country today," 62% say they don't know and an additional 9% say "no one." Yet, three-quarters of Hispanic adults say it is "extremely" (29%) or "very" important (45%) for the U.S. Hispanic community to have a national leader advancing its concerns. This sentiment is higher among foreign-born and Spanish-dominant Hispanics.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were each cited by 5% of survey respondents as the most important Hispanic leader in the country today. Former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (3%) and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (2%) were the only others mentioned by more than 2% of respondents.

The survey was conducted at a time when Latino political leaders and civic organizations have been pressing hard for legislation in Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11.7 million immigrants, the vast majority of them Latino, who are living in this country illegally.

Even though most Latinos say their community needs a national leader to advance its concerns, the survey finds that not all Latinos agree that their community has shared values. Four-in-ten (39%) Latinos say that U.S. Latinos of different origins share "a lot" of values, while another 39% say U.S. Latinos share "some" values. An additional 19% say that they share few or no values. Immigrant Latinos are more likely than native-born Latinos to say those of their Latino origin group have a lot of values in common with Latinos from different countries living in the U.S. (43% versus 33%).

When asked how many values U.S. Hispanics share with people living in their families' country of origin, 38% say "a lot," 34% say "some," and 25% say "only a little" or "almost nothing." Among Hispanic-origin groups, Salvadorans are most likely to say they share a lot of values with those in their home country. By contrast, Cubans are the most likely to say they share only a little or almost nothing with people in their home country.

Among the report's other findings:

• Just one-in-five (20%) survey respondents say they most often describe themselves by the pan-ethnic labels "Hispanic" or "Latino." About half say they usually use their family's Hispanic-origin term (such as Mexican, Cuban, Salvadoran) to identify themselves, followed by 23% who use "American" most often.

• When asked which pan-ethnic term they prefer, "Hispanic" or "Latino," half (50%) say they have no preference. When a preference is expressed, Hispanic (33%) is preferred over Latino (15%) by a margin of 2-1. • Half (49%) of all Latinos say they consider themselves a typical American, while 44% say they feel different from the typical American----a share that rises to 67% among immigrants who came to the U.S. in the past five years.

• Some 57% of Puerto Ricans, 55% of Cubans and 53% of Dominicans say they think of themselves as a typical American. Among all Latinos, 49% say the same.

The survey was conducted from May 24 to July 28, 2013 by landline and cellular telephone, in English and Spanish, among a nationally representative sample of 5,103 Hispanic adults. The margin of error for the survey was plus or minus 2.1 percentage points. The report is "Three-Fourths of Hispanics Say Their Community Needs a Leader," authored by Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research.

KJ

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