contains descriptive statistics for the major demographic variables used in this study. The sample ranged in age from 18 to over 65 (mean age = 38). Of the four groups studied, Cubans tended to be older than the other Latino groups with a mean age of 47 years. Males and females were equally represented in the overall sample; however, the Mexican subgroup included slightly more males than the other Latino groups. In terms of education, the overall sample had a mean of 10.7 years of education. Of the four Latino subgroups, Mexicans had fewer years of education on average (9.9 years). Cubans had the largest proportion of individuals with 16 or more years of education. Mexicans also had lower household incomes than the other Latino groups. With regards to citizenship, Puerto Ricans are all citizens by U.S. law, while approximately 60% of the other Latino subgroups are citizens of the Unites States.
contains information regarding migration experiences for each of the Latino groups studied. About 85% of Cuban respondents were born in Cuba while over half of Puerto Ricans were born on the U.S. mainland. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of the parents of Cuban subjects were also born in Cuba. For the rest of the Latino groups, between 60–70% of parents were born in their home countries. If respondents had U.S.-born parents, it was more likely that both of their parents were born in the U.S. than only one parent. Those Puerto Ricans who were migrants were significantly younger than the other groups when they arrived in the United States, while Cubans were significantly older when they arrived. As a result of earlier age of migration, Puerto Ricans have spent a larger proportion of their lives on the U.S. mainland compared to the other Latino groups.
Frequency of Migration Characteristics (percents and standard errors)
Of the four groups, Cubans were the only ones where a large majority expressed a desire to move to the U.S. and they were more likely than the other groups to have carefully planned their move to the U.S. For Cubans, visiting relatives in their home country was very difficult; for Puerto Ricans it was easy. Mexicans and Other Latinos present a more mixed picture on ease of visiting their home countries depending on their immigration status and reasons for leaving. In terms of satisfaction with economic opportunities in the U.S., most Latinos felt satisfied, with Cubans feeling particularly strongly regarding this issue.
The reasons for coming to the U.S. were diverse across the Latino groups. Mexicans were most likely to come looking for employment. All groups came to improve the future for their children. Cubans and some Other Latinos had strong political motivations for leaving their home countries. Only small proportions of the four groups reported coming to the U.S. for medical care or because of family problems in their countries of origin - reasons that are often speculated about as sources of psychological distress among Latino immigrants.
In this study, language use was measured in a number of different ways (). In terms of language of interview, Cubans were most likely to prefer the interview in Spanish, followed by Mexicans. Puerto Ricans more often preferred to be interviewed in English. Because the interviewers were fully bilingual/bicultural, respondents could freely choose the language of interview and could switch language during the interview, though this was rarely done.
Frequency of Language Use and Ability Variables (percents and standard errors)
In asking about general patterns of language use, the bilingual group accounted for about a fifth of the sample and was of similar proportions across the groups. There was a trend for Cubans to prefer Spanish and for Puerto Ricans to prefer English in everyday language use. Overwhelmingly, everyone spoke Spanish as children and stated that Spanish was also the language of thought. With the exception of Puerto Ricans, Latinos spoke more Spanish with friends, though there was considerable variation. Similarly, with family interactions, Spanish was more predominant across the Latino groups. also contains a description of language ability across groups. Overall, Puerto Ricans are most English proficient while Cubans are the least. Cubans, in turn, are most Spanish proficient, with the other groups being similar.
Information regarding ethnic identity is presented in . Across the Latino groups, there was strong identification with other members of one’s ethnic group. Ethnic identity indicators such as desire to spend time with others from the group or sharing thoughts with co-ethnics were high for all indicators of identity, with Cubans expressing somewhat higher ethnic identity than the other groups. The exception was the importance of marrying someone from the same ethnic group, which was consistently low across Latino groups.
Ethnic Identity (percents and standard errors)
presents the average scores on the family experience and acculturative distress scales for the Latino groups. When asked about family culture conflict, Puerto Ricans reported higher levels of conflict compared to Cubans or Mexicans. Cubans were highest on family pride and cohesion. Puerto Ricans’ scores on these scales were consistently the lowest of the four Latino groups.
Family Experiences and Acculturative Distress (means and standard errors)
With regards to acculturative distress (which was asked only of those participants who were born outside the U.S. mainland), Puerto Ricans experienced the least and Mexicans reported experiencing the most acculturative distress. Many of the acculturative distress items focused on problems faced by undocumented immigrants and the kinds of discrimination and fears they face. The intensity of these issues in California and other southwestern states are reflected in these results.