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Role of economics, prejudicial attitudes, and contact

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M.A. (Master of Arts)


Department of Sociology


Public opinion--Illinois||Emigration and immigration--Public opinion||Emigration and immigration--Economic aspects||Emigration and immigration--Social aspects||Illinois--Emigration and immigration


This thesis assessed Anglo responses to the changing demographics of the United States, specifically focusing on Anglo respondents in Chicago’s Collar Counties. The objectives of this study were: (a) To test statistically which factors influence Anglo respondents’ formation of prejudicial attitudes and (b) to test statistically which factors influence Anglo respondents’ formation of restrictionist sentiment concerning the level of desired immigration to the U.S. These research questions were tested through a series of conceptual models using economic factors, amount of contact with Latinos, Latino and minority populations in respondents’ zip codes, degree of prejudice, and various demographic factors. Data from the 1999 Chicago Collar County Survey (n = 210) and 1999 Census zip code data were used to develop and test the models. Findings indicate economic factors have little importance in predicting prejudicial attitudes or restrictionist sentiment among Anglos in the Chicago Collar Counties. It appears that high job security along with a high average income with in the suburban context have led to lower levels of economic competition. Anglos living in close proximity to a large Latino group size are more likely than racially and ethnically isolated Anglos to be prejudiced and restrictionist. On the other hand, Anglos living in close proximity to an overall large minority group size are not significantly more prejudiced, and are shown to be less restrictionist. This indicates that there may be a negative perception that Anglos have of Latinos who reside in higher concentrated Latino zip codes. On the other hand, as the number of Latino co-workers increases, perceived cultural distance with Latinos decreases. This indicates that positive interpersonal contact may be needed in order to reduce prejudice, not simply residential proximity to Latinos. The cultural distance and subtle prejudice dimensions of prejudicial attitudes were the overall strongest predictors of restrictionism. Their presence contributed most to the understanding of restrictionism in the suburban context of the Chicago Collar Counties. Prejudicial attitudes and restrictionism are relatively low in the suburban context of the Chicago Collar Counties when compared to the national level. However, the continuing growth of the Latino population, coupled with the findings that larger Latino group size increases prejudice and restrictionism, may indicate a future increase in ethnic hostilities in the suburbs.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [157]-161)


xii, 173 pages




Northern Illinois University

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