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The Case for Secular Assimilation? The Latino Experience in Richmond, Virginia Stephenie Reimer H.B. Cavalcanti, Debra Schleef. Journal for the Scientific.

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Presentation on theme: "The Case for Secular Assimilation? The Latino Experience in Richmond, Virginia Stephenie Reimer H.B. Cavalcanti, Debra Schleef. Journal for the Scientific."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Case for Secular Assimilation? The Latino Experience in Richmond, Virginia Stephenie Reimer H.B. Cavalcanti, Debra Schleef. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion- 44(4) p , 2005.

2 Religious Conversion to Non-Catholic Affiliation This study compares the effect of 1)Remaining faithful to one’s religion of origin 2)Converting to a more common U.S. religion 3)Becoming nonreligious Interviewed 303 Latinos, averaging 45 minutes. –70% of sample were immigrants

3 Methods 1 st sample: –Purchased a sampling frame of 1,100 individuals, 18 years and older with Latino surnames in Richmond and its surrounding counties. [ Ended up using 174 individuals from this source] 2 nd sample: Used contacts from public agencies, businesses, and organizations in the community & compiled a master list of over 100 Latinos who didn’t have Hispanic surnames.

4 Measuring Cultural & Structural Assimilation Structural Assimilation: an ethnic group’s integration into the organization and institutions of host society –Included variables concerning Latinos’ level of socioeconomic attainment and occupation Social distance: the reduction in social distance facilitates structural assimilation. Political measures: participation in the political arena is an important sign of becoming part of U.S. society. Cultural Assimilation: –Used 3 variables: 1) Everyday language use 2) Use of languages at home 3) measured value similarity in terms of work

5 Richmond, Virginia & Latinos Latino community has grown 165% in the last decade (from 9,000 in 1990 to 24,000 in 2000) Sample looked at Catholics, Protestants [Mainline or Evangelical] and the nonreligious –25% mainline evangelical Protestants –1 in 10 Latinos had no religious preference as adults.

6 Results- Non Religious Even in ‘religious’ Richmond- nonreligious Latinos can be involved and integrated even if they do not belong to a religious community. In every measure- with the exception of education- they are the most adapted to the dominant culture and institutions of the U.S. –Use of the language –Work orientation –Occupational attainment –Levels of political participation There is limited evidence that the turn to no religion is dependent on the time spent in the US. Income levels were lower than the other groups but also tended to be under 30 and “might not have established themselves economically”

7 Results- Evangelical & Mainline Protestants Protestants and non religious Latinos most likely to use English in every day life. Both groups were also more likely to associate with Anglos in their everyday life. They were the least assimilated in terms of social distance. Lowest levels of educational attainment and least likely to be at the top of occupational hierarchy Participated less -politically- than other groups, Mainline Protestants averaged more education than nonreligious Latinos

8 Intergenerational Results Data is a bit cross sectional but there does appear to be a trend whereby the no religion option goes hand in hand with time in the US. 1 st generation are more likely to remain Catholic 64% of foreign born remained Catholic; 54% of US born Latinos remained. 2 nd generation Latinos are more likely to be non religious Nonreligious Latinos increase from 8& of 1 st generation to 14% of 2 nd generation.

9 Survey Limitations Sample size is relatively small & Richmond is not the most populated Latino area. Sample gathering: –The sample probably missed: Latinos without Hispanic sounding last names of both genders Hispanic women who married Anglos and changed their names Was biased towards male respondents since they are most likely to be in public records (telephone accounts, driver’s records etc)


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