Popular wisdom says that young adults, having come of age in a multicultural era, are (unlike their elders) open to all sorts of ethnicities and customs. A survey of 18-29-year-olds by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, in conjunction with Knowledge Networks, gives reason to wonder whether that assumption is altogether correct.
As the chart here shows, many of the 18-29s look askance at “recent immigration,” especially if it’s recent immigration from Latin America. Nor is such sentiment confined to the more downscale, uneducated respondents. Among those who attend a four-year college, 34 percent disagreed (while 33 percent agreed) with the proposition that recent immigration has done more good than harm.
In a breakdown by race and ethnicity on this question, the “disagree” vote was larger than the “agree” tally among whites (43 percent vs. 22 percent) and blacks (34 percent vs. 21 percent). The opposite was true among Hispanic respondents, though a non-trivial number of them (19 percent) disagreed that recent immigration has done more good than harm, while 49 percent agreed.
There was even a significant disparity between Hispanic respondents who preferred to be polled in Spanish and those who took the survey in English. Among the Spanish speakers, “agree” trounced “disagree” by 58 percent to 16 percent. Among the English speakers, it was 42 percent “agree” to 21 percent “disagree.”
Another question in the poll focused specifically on “illegal immigration.” More than three-quarters of the 18-29-year-olds said they regard it as either a “very serious” (38 percent) or “somewhat serious” (40 percent) problem for the U.S. right now.