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Hispanics and the Future of America 5 Hispanic Families in the United States: Family Structure and Process in an Era of Family Change Nancy S. Landale, R. Salvador Oropesa, and Cristina Bradatan The last decades of the 20th century were a period of significant change in family life in the United States. Among the well-documented changes are a rising age at marriage, an increase in cohabitation, and a dramatic shift in the proportion of children born outside marriage (Bramlett and Mosher, 2002; Casper and Bianchi, 2002; Wu and Wolfe, 2001). Coupled with a high divorce rate, these trends have led to high rates of female family headship and a growing share of children with restricted access to their fathers’ resources. These changes in family patterns have taken place alongside rapid growth in immigration and concomitant changes in the racial and ethnic composition of the U.S. population. The average annual inflow of immigrants more than doubled between the 1970s and 1990s, and the share of immigrants from Latin America increased at the same time (Martin and Midgley, 2003). Thus, the Hispanic population grew from 5 percent of the total U.S. population in 1970 to 13 percent in 2000. Furthermore, population projections suggest that Hispanics will comprise 20 percent of the U.S. population in 2030 (National Research Council, 1997). This chapter addresses the intersection of these two domains of rapidly changing demographic behavior. Specifically, we analyze the family patterns of Hispanics, focusing on several key issues. First, to place the present in a larger context, we document trends in several indicators of family change. Comparisons between Hispanic subgroups, non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanic blacks provide information on the extent to which Hispanics have shared in the general shifts in family configurations that took
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Hispanics and the Future of America place during the past several decades. This issue is fundamental to understanding the nature of family life among Hispanics as well as links between changing family processes and family members’ access to social and economic resources. As noted by Vega (1995, p. 6), “Changing family structures, including marital disruption and cohabitation, could represent the most important issue for Latino family theory and research in the decade ahead.” A second issue addressed in the chapter is generational variation in family patterns within Hispanic subgroups. Our descriptive analyses demonstrate that Hispanics—like other racial/ethnic groups—exhibit many behaviors that are consistent with what some scholars call “family decline” (Popenoe, 1993). At the same time, Hispanics (especially Mexican Americans) are typically described as oriented toward family well-being, rather than individual well-being (Sabogal, Marin, Otero-Sabogal, VanOss Marin, and Perez-Stable, 1987; Valenzuela and Dornbusch, 1994; Vega, 1995). To the extent that such “familism” remains alive among U.S. Hispanics, one would expect it to reduce the erosion of traditional family patterns or to contribute to new family forms in which family support remains high. However, it is possible that the process of assimilation reduces familism and encourages the individualism that some have argued is at the heart of recent changes in family behavior. After describing racial/ethnic differences in the characteristics of family households and the living arrangements of individuals of various ages, we focus on differences within Hispanic groups by generational status. Our comparisons of the family patterns of the first generation (foreign-born), the second generation (native-born of foreign parentage), and the third or higher generations (native-born of native parentage) will shed light on the dynamics of assimilation with respect to family patterns. A third topic considered in the chapter is racial/ethnic mixing in sexual partnerships of various types, including marriage, cohabitation, and parenthood. Intermarriage is a long-standing theme in the study of assimilation. It has been considered both an indicator of assimilation and a means by which assimilation is achieved (Gordon, 1964; Lieberson and Waters, 1988). According to the classic assimilation theory, intermarriage between an immigrant group and the dominant population reduces social boundaries and eventually leads to a reduction in the salience of an ethnic identity. Because the offspring of intermarried couples may opt out of defining themselves as members of an ethnic group, intermarriage may affect the future size and shape of an ethnic population. Among Hispanics, intermarriage with non-Hispanic whites or non-Hispanic blacks may ultimately lead to a blurring of racial/ethnic boundaries. At the same time, intermarriage between members of different Hispanic subgroups may strengthen pan-ethnicity, or the adoption of a “Hispanic” identity instead of an identity as
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Hispanics and the Future of America a member of a specific national-origin group. While recognizing the importance of intermarriage, we contend that in the current era of what is called the “retreat from marriage,” the study of racial/ethnic mixing in sexual partnerships must be expanded to include unions other than traditional marriages. Thus, we examine ethnic endogamy and exogamy among Hispanics in both marriage and cohabitation. Given the growing separation of marriage and childbearing, we also examine racial/ethnic mixing in both marital and nonmarital childbearing. It is now widely recognized that Hispanic national-origin groups differ markedly with respect to their histories of immigration, settlement patterns, socioeconomic position, and other circumstances (Bean and Tienda, 1987; Oropesa and Landale, 1997; Portes and Rumbaut, 2001). There is a general consensus among experts on the Hispanic population that, to the extent possible, research should disaggregate the generic category “Hispanic” into specific national-origin groups. Thus, all of our analyses present information separately for Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Central/South Americans, and other Hispanics.1 In addition to addressing differences between Hispanics and non-Hispanics, we examine the diversity of family patterns among the specific Hispanic groups. Several broad conclusions are supported by our analyses. First, Hispanics exhibit high levels of familism relative to non-Hispanics on a variety of structural/demographic indicators. However, they are also participating in the general changes in family life that are under way in the United States. Second, analyses conducted separately by national origin suggest declining familism across generations (with some exceptions). Third, all Hispanic subgroups exhibit substantial declines in ethnic endogamy across generations. This pattern suggests that assimilation is occurring and that racial/ethnic boundaries for Hispanics are not sharp. Nonetheless, the Mexican-origin population stands out for its high levels of ethnic endogamy in marriage, cohabitation, and parenthood. TRENDS IN FAMILY LIFE AMONG HISPANICS One of the most significant changes in family behavior that occurred during the past several decades is the retreat from marriage. Although most individuals marry eventually, a declining percentage of men and women are entering marriage in their teens and early 20s (Ventura and Bachrach, 2000). At the same time, most young people begin having sex in their mid- 1 In some cases, additional information on the subgroups that comprise the Census Bureau’s Central/South American category is provided. These subgroups include Dominicans, Guatemalans/El Salvadorans, other Central Americans, Colombians, Ecuadorians/Peruvians, and other South Americans.
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Hispanics and the Future of America to late teens (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1999), and cohabitation has become so widespread that it has largely offset the decline in marriage (Bumpass and Lu, 2000). Thus, the process of union formation has changed substantially. In addition, divorce rates remain high, although they have declined slightly since their peak around 1980 (Casper and Bianchi, 2002). The growing proportion of women who are unmarried (but sexually active and often cohabiting), increasing birth rates among unmarried women, and decreasing birth rates among married women have all contributed to a striking increase in the proportion of births occurring outside marriage (Wu et al., 2001). Table 5-1 summarizes information on trends in several family-related behaviors from 1980 to 2000. The top panel shows the percentage married among females ages 20 to 24. At each time point, Mexican-origin females were the most likely to be married and non-Hispanic black females were the least likely to be married. For example, in 1980 roughly half of Mexican females ages 20 to 24 were married compared with one-fourth of their non-Hispanic black counterparts. The figures for non-Hispanic whites (45 percent), Cubans (40 percent), and Puerto Ricans (38 percent) are intermediate between those for Mexicans and non-Hispanic blacks. Between 1980 and 2000, there was a marked decline in early marriage for each of the racial/ethnic groups shown. However, the percentage change in the percentage married was weaker for Mexican women (−20 percent) than for Cubans (−31 percent), Puerto Ricans (−37 percent), non-Hispanic whites (−39 percent), and non-Hispanic blacks (−44 percent).2 Thus, while all groups have shared in the retreat from early marriage, young Mexican women are more likely to enter marriage by their early 20s than the other Hispanic and non-Hispanic groups. The second through fourth panels of the table focus on various aspects of fertility. The total fertility rates (TFRs) presented in the second panel describe the number of children the typical woman in a particular racial/ethnic group would have if her fertility throughout her reproductive period reflected the prevailing age-specific fertility rates for the racial/ethnic group at a given point in time. In 1980, the TFR for each Hispanic subgroup except Cubans was higher than that for non-Hispanic whites (1.7), but only Mexicans exhibited substantially higher fertility (TFR = 2.9). The TFRs for Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics (both 2.1) were slightly higher than the non-Hispanic white rate (1.7), but slightly lower than the non-Hispanic black rate (2.4). 2 The figures for the percentage change between 1980 and 2000 were calculated from more precise information (i.e., rounded to hundredths rather than tenths) than that presented in the table. Thus, in some cases, they differ slightly from calculations based on the numbers in the first and third columns of the table.
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Hispanics and the Future of America TABLE 5-1 Selected Indicators of Family Change, by Race and Ethnicity Indicators Period % Change 1979–1980 1989–1990 2000–2001 1980–2000 Percentage married, females, ages 20–24a Mexican 52.0 41.2 41.4 –20.5 Puerto Rican 38.2 28.3 24.0 –37.1 Cuban 40.5 31.1 27.8 –31.2 Central/South American n.a. 32.7 30.7 n.a. Other Hispanic n.a. 29.5 31.7 n.a. Non-Hispanic white 44.6 32.2 27.4 –38.7 Non-Hispanic black 24.8 15.4 13.7 –44.5 Total fertility rateb Mexican 2.9 3.2 3.3 12.8 Puerto Rican 2.1 2.3 2.6 25.9 Cuban 1.3 1.5 1.9 43.9 Other Hispanic 2.1 2.9 3.0 44.2 Non-Hispanic white 1.7 1.9 1.9 11.2 Non-Hispanic black 2.4 2.6 2.3 –3.8 Percentage of births to unmarried mothersc Mexican 20.3 33.3 40.8 101.0 Puerto Rican 46.3 55.9 58.9 27.2 Cuban 10.0 18.2 27.3 173.0 Central/South American 27.1 41.2 44.3 63.5 Other/unknown Hispanic 22.4 37.2 44.2 97.3 Non-Hispanic white 9.6 16.9 22.5 134.4 Non-Hispanic black 57.3 66.7 68.6 19.7 Percentage of births to mothers under 18d Mexican 7.7 6.9 6.2 –19.5 Puerto Rican 10.0 9.1 7.4 –26.0 Cuban 3.8 2.7 2.7 –28.9 Central/South American 2.4 3.2 3.1 29.2 Other/unknown Hispanic 6.5 8.0 6.8 4.6 Non-Hispanic white 4.0 3.0 2.3 –42.5 Non-Hispanic black 12.7 10.2 7.3 –42.5 Percentage female householder, no spouse present Mexicane 14.8 19.0 21.1 42.6 Puerto Ricane 38.2 39.6 35.8 –6.3 Cubane n.a. 17.7 18.3 n.a.
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Hispanics and the Future of America Indicators Period % Change 1979–1980 1989–1990 2000–2001 1980–2000 Central/South Americane n.a. 25.0 24.6 n.a. Other/unknown Hispanice n.a. 26.4 27.4 n.a. Whitef 11.6 12.9 13.9 19.8 Blackf 40.3 43.8 45.1 11.9 NOTE: For figures based on vital statistics, states without a Hispanic-origin item on the birth certificate were excluded prior to 1993. n.a. = not available. aAuthors’ calculations; Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. bMartin, Hamilton, Ventura, Menaker, and Park (2002); National Center for Health Statistics (2003), Ventura (1980). cNational Center for Health Statistics (2003, Table 9). dNational Center for Health Statistics (2003, Table 8). eFor 1980, Statistical Abstracts (1981) (Current Population Reports, P-20, No. 361); for 1989, Statistical Abstract 1992: Table 45 (Current Population Reports, P-20, No. 444); for 2000, Statistical Abstract, 2001: Tables 38 and 41 (Current Population Reports P-20, No. 535, P-60, No. 209, and P-60, No. 210). fStatistical Abstract 2001, Table 38. Despite the long-term trend toward lower fertility, the TFR increased between 1980 and 2000 for all groups except non-Hispanic blacks. The TFR rose by 11 percent for non-Hispanic whites (from 1.7 to 1.9), 13 percent for Mexicans (from 2.9 to 3.3), 26 percent for Puerto Ricans (from 2.1 to 2.6), and 44 percent for Cubans (from 1.3 to 1.9) and other Hispanics (from 2.1 to 3.0). The generally greater increase in fertility among Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic whites resulted in more diversity in fertility in 2000 than in 1980. Currently, the average Mexican, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic woman can expect to have about one more child than the average non-Hispanic white woman.3 Cubans are an exception, with a TFR that is nearly identical to that of whites. The TFRs for all Hispanic groups except Cubans also exceed that for non-Hispanic blacks. The third panel presents figures on nonmarital childbearing. In 1980, the percentage of births to unmarried women was more than twice as high for each Hispanic subgroup (except Cubans) as it was for non-Hispanic whites (10 percent). The figures range from 20 percent for Mexicans to 46 percent for Puerto Ricans. Over the subsequent 20 years, all groups experi- 3 Because the TFR is based on age-specific fertility rates, it essentially “controls” for the age distribution of groups. Consequently, the youthful age structures of the Hispanic subgroups, relative to non-Hispanic whites, do not explain their relatively high fertility.
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Hispanics and the Future of America enced a substantial increase in nonmarital childbearing. The percentage of births to unmarried women more than doubled for non-Hispanic whites (percentage change of 134 percent), Mexicans (101 percent), and Cubans (173 percent), and increased by more than half for Central/South Americans (64 percent) and other Hispanics (97 percent). The two groups that showed less growth over the 20-year period (Puerto Ricans and non-Hispanic blacks) had relatively high shares of nonmarital births at the first point in time (46 and 57 percent, respectively). Overall, these figures indicate that each Hispanic subgroup has experienced the trend toward nonmarital childbearing that has been documented for the general U.S. population. Nonetheless, there remain substantial racial/ethnic differences in the percentage of births to unmarried mothers in 2000. Non-Hispanic whites (22 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (69 percent) fall at the two extremes of the distribution. While Cubans are closer to non-Hispanic whites (27 percent) and Puerto Ricans are closer to non-Hispanic blacks (59 percent), Mexicans (41 percent) and Central/South Americans (44 percent) are equidistant from the extremes.4 The fourth panel sheds light on differences and similarities in the timing of entry into motherhood across the groups. In 1980, less than 5 percent of births to non-Hispanic whites, Cubans, and Central/South Americans were to women under 18 years of age. The figures were slightly higher for other Hispanics (7 percent) and Mexicans (8 percent), and substantially higher for Puerto Ricans (10 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (13 percent). Consistent with the well-established decline in teenage childbearing in the United States, the trend from 1980 to 2000 shows a substantial decrease in the percentage of births to young teen mothers for almost all groups. However, the decline has not been as great for most Hispanic subgroups as it has been for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. In 2000, Mexican (6 percent), Puerto Rican (7 percent), and other Hispanic (7 percent) infants were more likely than Cuban (3 percent) and Central/South American (3 percent) infants to have a teenage mother. The figures for the former groups are more similar to that for non-Hispanic blacks (7 percent), while those for the latter are similar to that for non-Hispanic whites (2 percent). The last panel of the table focuses on the structure of family households. Available data for 1980 show that whites (12 percent) and Mexicans (15 percent) had relatively low levels of female family headship, but Puerto Ricans (38 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (40 percent) had substantially 4 In 2000, roughly 50 percent of nonmarital births to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women occurred within cohabitation, compared with 22 percent for non-Hispanic blacks (Bumpass and Lu, 2000). The role of cohabitation in nonmarital childbearing also varies across Hispanic subgroups; however, comparable information is not available for specific Hispanic groups.
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Hispanics and the Future of America higher levels. An increase in the percentage of female householders is evident for three of the four groups for which complete data are shown (non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Mexicans). Puerto Ricans are the exception, showing a slight decline in the percentatge of family households with a female head over the two-decade period. In 2000, the various Hispanic subgroups fall between the extremes occupied by non-Hispanic whites and blacks with respect to family structure. About 14 percent of white families had a female householder, compared with about 20 percent of Mexican and Cuban families, 25 percent of Central and South American families, 36 percent of Puerto Rican families, and 45 percent of non-Hispanic black families. In summary, Table 5-1 shows that trends for each dimension of family life are generally similar for Hispanic subgroups and the non-Hispanic majority. However, consistent with differences in their histories and social locations (see Chapter 2), there are substantial differences across Hispanic subgroups—and between Hispanic subgroups and non-Hispanics—in specific aspects of family behavior. Moreover, there are a few instances of divergence (i.e., widening of group differences) over time between Hispanic and non-Hispanic groups. For example, the 1980–2000 increase in fertility (as measured by the TFR) was somewhat greater for Hispanic groups than for non-Hispanic whites. In addition, there was a weaker decline in teenage childbearing among Hispanics compared with non-Hispanics. The growing divergence between Hispanic and non-Hispanic fertility patterns is undoubtedly linked to the relatively rapid growth of the immigrant population (Suro and Passel, 2003). Since Latin American immigrants have higher fertility and tend to bear their children earlier than native-born Hispanics, a shift in the generational composition of the Hispanic population would contribute to such a pattern. Also noteworthy is the considerably greater increase in female family headship among Mexican Americans compared with non-Hispanic whites and blacks. CURRENT FAMILY PATTERNS: VARIATION BY ETHNICITY AND GENERATION Recent scholarship on current family patterns among Hispanics emphasizes several distinct themes, which can be broadly classified as stressing either the structural conditions in which Hispanics live or the role of culture in shaping values and behavior. We discuss each in turn. The Role of Structural Conditions One recurrent theme in the study of Hispanic families is the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage on family life (Baca Zinn and Wells, 2000;
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Hispanics and the Future of America Massey, Zambrana, and Bell, 1995; Oropesa and Landale, 2004; Vega, 1995). Due to a complex set of factors, including the hardships of immigration, low levels of human capital, racial discrimination, and settlement patterns, Hispanic poverty rates remain high. In 2002, about 22 percent of Hispanics were poor, a figure roughly comparable to that for blacks (24 percent) and almost three times that for non-Hispanic whites (8 percent) (Proktor and Dallaker, 2003).5 A constellation of behaviors and conditions that are associated with poverty, especially low skill levels, job instability, and inadequate earnings for males, play a central role in recent explanations of the retreat from marriage, nonmarital childbearing, and female family headship (Oppenheimer, 2000; Sweeney, 2002; Wilson, 1987). Contemporary scholarship on Hispanic families is highly critical of a “culture of poverty” interpretation of the link between poverty and family patterns. Rather, it emphasizes a “social adaptation” paradigm, in which individuals and families adapt to the situations they face as a result of their social and economic position in U.S. society (Baca Zinn and Wells, 2000; Vega, 1995). An issue that has received attention is whether links between poverty and family processes among Hispanics can be understood using frameworks developed to study the experience of other disadvantaged groups (i.e., blacks). Massey et al. (1995) argue that the Hispanic experience is fundamentally different from that of blacks in five important ways. First, consistent with Bean and Tienda’s seminal work (1987), they contend that Hispanics cannot be understood as a single group; analyses must be conducted separately for each Hispanic subgroup because of differences in their histories and current situations. Second, Hispanics are heterogeneous with respect to race, while blacks are relatively homogeneous. Furthermore, foreign-born Hispanics experience a marked disjuncture between the way race is viewed in Latin America and the racial dynamics they encounter in the United States. Third, related to their diverse racial features, Hispanics experience more varied levels of segregation (and consequently, more varied opportunities) than do non-Hispanic blacks, but this is changing. Fourth, the Hispanic experience remains bound up with immigration. Massey et al. (1995) argue that the dynamics of immigration must be explicitly considered in studies of Hispanic family patterns. This requires attention to the complexities of international migration (e.g., selective migration) as well as consideration of issues related to the assimilation process. Finally, Hispanics differ from blacks in that their experience is influenced by their use of the Spanish language. Given these differences, Massey and colleagues argue 5 There is considerable variation among Hispanic subgroups in poverty. In 2001, about 23 percent of Mexicans, 26 percent of Puerto Ricans, 16 percent of Cubans, 15 percent of Central/South Americans, and 18 percent of other Hispanics were poor (Ramirez and de la Cruz, 2002).
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Hispanics and the Future of America that studies of Hispanic families cannot simply adopt theories developed to explain the experience of other disadvantaged groups. Although socioeconomic disadvantage is central to the Hispanic experience, its effects on family patterns must be understood in the context of more complex frameworks that simultaneously consider the aforementioned issues. The Role of Culture Another theme that is widespread in studies of Hispanic families is the idea that Hispanics are characterized by familism or a strong commitment to family life that is qualitatively distinct from that of non-Hispanic whites (Vega, 1995). The concept of familism can be found in the sociological literature as early as the mid-1940s (Burgess and Locke, 1945; Ch’Eng-K’Un, 1944). Although it has been used in somewhat varied ways since that time, there is general agreement that familism entails the subordination of individual interests to those of the family group. Some authors have stressed the attitudinal foundations of familism (Bean, Curtis, and Marcum, 1977; Burgess and Locke, 1945; Gaines et al., 1997; Lesthaeghe and Meekers, 1986; Rodriguez, Kosloski, and Kosloski, 1998; Oropesa and Gorman, 2000), while others have emphasized behavioral manifestations (Tienda, 1980; Winch, Greer, and Blumberg, 1967). Recent scholarship puts forth the view that familism is a multidimensional concept encompassing at least three features: a structural/demographic dimension,6 a behavioral dimension, and an attitudinal dimension (Valenzuela and Dornbusch, 1994). The structural dimension is evident in such family configurations as family size, family structure (including the presence or absence of nuclear and extended kin), and fertility patterns. The behavioral dimension includes behaviors that indicate the fulfillment of family role obligations, such as the sharing of economic resources, mutual assistance and social support, and frequent contact among family members. The attitudinal (or normative) dimension entails values that emphasize the importance of the family and prescribe loyalty, reciprocity, and solidarity among family members (Sabogal et al., 1987; Steidel, Contreras, and Contreras, 2003). Early scholarship often regarded familism as an impediment to socioeconomic advancement in urban industrial societies because such societies emphasize individualism, competition, and geographic mobility. For example, some studies argued that familism hindered the socioeconomic success of Mexican Americans (Valenzuela and Dornbusch, 1994). More re- 6 For ease of presentation, we refer to the structural/demographic dimension as the structural dimension in the remainder of the text. A similar shorthand is used when discussing the variables used to measure this dimension of familism.
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Hispanics and the Future of America cently, however, this view has been turned on its head and familism is generally viewed as a protective factor. Studies of a variety of outcomes (e.g., physical and mental health, education) among Hispanics propose that extended family networks, family cohesion, and high levels of social support reduce the adverse consequences of poverty (Guendelman, 1995; Landale and Oropesa, 2001; Rumbaut and Weeks, 1996; Sabogal et al., 1987; Zambrana, Scrimshaw, Collins, and Dunkel-Schetter, 1997). Thus, recent scholarship regards familism as a positive attribute of Hispanic families that may decline with acculturation to U.S. family norms and adaptation to life in the United States. Although a comprehensive assessment of the three dimensions of familism is beyond the scope of this chapter, we focus on the structural dimension in Tables 5-2 through 5-5. Based on weighted data from the 1998–2002 March Current Population Surveys (pooled across years), we provide descriptive information on the characteristics of Hispanic families and the living arrangements of individuals in different age groups. Comparisons are made across racial/ethnic groups and within Hispanic subgroups by generational status.7 Characteristics of Family Households Table 5-2 addresses a fundamental question: What percentage of all households are family households? The U.S. Census Bureau defines a family household as a household maintained by a householder who is in a family; a family is a group of two or more people (one of whom is the householder) who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption and reside together (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).8 It is important to note that the Census Bureau does not regard cohabitation as a family status. Given the growing role of cohabitation in U.S. family life (Bramlett and Mosher, 2002; Bumpass and Lu, 2000) and its prominence among some Hispanic subgroups, we believe it is important to recognize cohabiting unions. Thus, we depart from the Census Bureau’s definition of a family household by treating cohabitation as a family status. Households in which the householder is cohabiting with a partner are therefore included as family households in Tables 5-2 and 5-3.9 7 To simplify the presentation of results, the text reports numbers that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. The rounding is based on more precise data than the information that appears in the tables (i.e., rounded to hundredths rather than tenths). 8 A householder is the first adult household member listed on the census form. The instructions indicate that this should be the person (or one of the people) in whose name the home is owned or rented. 9 To allow for comparisons with prior studies, we also provide tables in the appendix that are based on the Census Bureau’s definition of a family household. Appendix Table A5-1 is comparable to Table 5-2 and Appendix Table A5-2 is comparable to Table 5-3. Using the
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Hispanics and the Future of America cated by the fact that family behavior is not shaped solely by normative orientations and values; it is also strongly influenced by socioeconomic position and the structure of economic opportunities in the broader society. Thus, contemporary scholars generally argue that Hispanic family patterns can best be understood within a social adaptation framework, which stresses the interplay between familistic values and the circumstances experienced by Hispanics in their everyday lives. Because the data presented in this chapter are descriptive, we cannot evaluate the relative importance of the aforementioned factors in shaping family behavior among Hispanics. Instead, we identify structural characteristics of families that suggest variation in familism by race/ethnicity and generational status. Several patterns are consistent with the idea that Hispanics are family oriented, relative to non-Hispanics. First, with the exception of Cubans, Hispanics have higher fertility than non-Hispanics. Childbearing also begins earlier in Hispanic women’s lives than it does for non-Hispanic white women. Second, Hispanics are more likely to live in family households than are non-Hispanic whites and blacks. Third, the family households of Hispanics are slightly larger and much more likely to be extended than those of non-Hispanic whites. At the same time, the figures for family structure and children’s living arrangements show that traditional two-parent families are not more common among Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites. In fact, female family headship and one-parent living arrangements for children are considerably more prevalent among Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites, although less prevalent than among non-Hispanic blacks. A related issue is whether familism declines as Hispanic groups spend more time in the United States. Although comparisons across generations using cross-sectional data must be used cautiously to address this question,20 our analysis of structural measures of familism shows some support for the declining familism thesis. The support is strongest for the Mexican-origin population. On every indicator, the second and third (or higher) generations exhibit less traditional family behavior than the first generation. For instance, in 15 percent of households headed by a first-generation Mexican, the householder is a female with no partner present, compared with 23 percent of households headed by a second- or third (or higher)-generation Mexican. The implications of these differences are particularly striking for children: about 14 percent of first-generation Mexican children live in a mother-only family, compared with 20 percent of second-generation children and 31 percent of third (or higher)-generation chil- 20 Generational differences found in cross-sectional data can be influenced by in the characteristics of immigrants arriving in the United States at different points in time, as well as differences in the context of reception at the time of arrival.
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Hispanics and the Future of America dren. A similar but somewhat weaker pattern of declining familism across generations is shown for Puerto Ricans, but the evidence is considerably more mixed for the other Hispanic subgroups. A limitation of this study is that we have only examined the structural dimension of familism. This is due, in part, to the absence of national-level databases that include both information on other dimensions of familism and sufficient numbers of the various Hispanic subgroups to allow for analysis. Future research on attitudinal and behavioral aspects of familism is needed, given the unevenness of conclusions that can be drawn from the existing literature and data. For example, perhaps the best general-purpose survey for describing the attitudinal and behavioral dimensions of familism is the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). This survey includes numerous questions that tap normative beliefs about the obligations of parents to support their adult children and the obligations of adult children to support aging parents. It suggests that members of Hispanic groups are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to recognize both parental and filial obligations (results available upon request), although the difference may be due in part to nativity differences between groups and the tendency of the foreign-born to value parental and filial duties. Indeed, Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to say they would rely on their children or their parents for emergency help, for a loan, or advice (Kim and McKenry, 1998). These findings are consistent with research based on other data sets, which show that Hispanic adolescents, irrespective of nativity, more strongly respect their parents and feel more obligated to provide their parents with support in the future than non-Hispanic whites (Fuligni, Tseng, and Lam, 1999). Such findings on the attitudinal dimension of familism stand in sharp contrast to a more complicated set of findings from NSFH-based studies that focus on the behavioral dimension of familism, in particular social participation and both instrumental (money/help) and noninstrumental (advice/support) transfers within families. A concise summary of this literature is complicated by the fact that there is little consistency across studies in research methodology. For example, only some studies disaggregate Hispanics by national origin and generational status, and many studies are restricted to particular stages of the life course (e.g., old age). In addition, there are inconsistencies in the types of support examined as well as whether information is provided on the direction of exchanges (i.e., the providers and recipients of support are identified) (Hogan, Eggebeen, and Clogg, 1993; Lee and Aytec, 1998; Spreizer, Schoeni, and Rao, 1996). Nonetheless, whether one focuses on Hispanics as a generic category or specific subgroups such as Mexican Americans, there is some indication that Hispanics tend to socialize more frequently with relatives than others (Kim and McKenry, 1998). As for giving and receiving support within families, the
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Hispanics and the Future of America NSFH suggests that ethnic differences are either trivial or various Hispanic groups tend to participate in fewer exchanges than others. This may be due, in part, to the role of migration in separating family members (Hogan et al., Clogg, 1993) or to the relative lack of resources to give (Lee and Aytac, 1998). More systematic attention to differences in family relations and exchanges by national origin and generation is needed before firm conclusions about these issues can be drawn.21 Another topic considered in this chapter is ethnic mixing in family formation. The future size and composition of the Hispanic population will be shaped by the processes that constitute the well-known demographic balancing equation: population change = births − deaths + net migration. High rates of immigration and relatively high fertility will continue to fuel the rapid growth of the Hispanic population. While these factors are fundamental, there are additional complications in the situation of Hispanics that are not taken into account in population projections based on the balancing equation. Specifically, the equation assumes that there is no intermarriage and that the racial and ethnic identities of children are identical to those of their mothers (National Research Council, 1997). As we have seen, the assumption of full ethnic endogamy is untenable, as is the premise of fixed identities across generations. Recent changes in family formation behavior and the complexities of ethnic mixing will play significant roles in the future size and composition of Hispanic subgroups. Hispanics have shared in the trend toward cohabitation and nonmarital childbearing that has characterized the general U.S. population. Currently, more than 40 percent of births to Hispanic mothers take place outside marriage (National Center for Health Statistics, 2003), and roughly half of those births are to cohabiting couples (Bumpass and Lu, 2000). Our analysis shows that ethnic exogamy is common in marriage and in marital births among Hispanics—but exogamy is even more prominent in cohabiting unions and in nonmarital childbearing. Thus, recent shifts in the union context of childbearing are linked to growth in the population of children with mixed ethnic backgrounds and to a blurring of boundaries between specific Hispanic subgroups and both other Hispanic subgroups and non-Hispanics. Importantly, there are differences between Hispanic subgroups and within Hispanic subgroups by generational status in the extent of ethnic mixing. The most consequential differences are those between the Mexican-origin population and all other Hispanic groups. Relative to the other Hispanic subgroups, the Mexican-origin population exhibits much higher 21 For studies of the elderly population using data sources other than the NSFH, see Angel, Angel, and Markides (2002); Angel, Angel, Lee, and Markides (1999); Angel, Angel, McClellan, and Markides (1996).
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Hispanics and the Future of America levels of ethnic endogamy in marriage, cohabitation, and parenthood. Moreover, while ethnic endogamy in parenthood is lower for native-born mothers than for foreign-born mothers in each Hispanic group, the level of endogamy among native-born Mexican mothers exceeds that for foreign-born mothers in the other groups. Thus, the Mexican-origin population is unique among Hispanics in its high level of ethnic endogamy in marriage, cohabitation, and parenthood. This suggests that there will be fewer exits from the Mexican American population due to mixed racial/ethnic backgrounds of offspring (and consequent identity shifts) than is the case for other groups. A question that remains unanswered is: What are the implications of these interethnic mating patterns for the future of racial and ethnic boundaries in the United States? Some scholars argue that race and ethnicity are in the process of being reconfigured in U.S. society. Due to the large-scale immigration of groups that are not readily classified as whites or blacks—and to the growth of the mixed-race population—the old black–white dualism is being transformed into a black–nonblack dualism (Gans, 1999). According to Gans (1999), Hispanics and Asians are “in reserve” as a residual category that will be sorted into the principal categories over time by the dominant white society. This sorting process is likely to depend on the socioeconomic position and phenotypic characteristics of Hispanic- and Asian-origin individuals. Several features of ethnic mixing among Hispanics are consistent with the idea that Hispanics will be classified with whites into the nonblack category of the new racial dualism. First, with the exception of Mexican Americans, the level of exogamy among Hispanics is high and sizeable proportions of exogamous unions are with non-Hispanic whites. Second, very low proportions of exogamous unions are with non-Hispanic blacks. And third, the level of intermixing with non-Hispanic whites increases markedly across generations. In all Hispanic groups except Mexican Americans, more than half of the unions of native-born women are exogamous,22 and such unions frequently involve non-Hispanic white partners. At the same time, there are features of ethnic mixing that are not consistent with the idea of a growing black–nonblack dichotomy in which Hispanics are blending into an undifferentiated nonblack group. One such feature is the relatively high level of ethnic endogamy among Mexican Americans, which will undoubtedly contribute to the persistence of a Mexican ethnic identity and culture. Given the size of the Mexican-origin population and continued high rates of immigration from Mexico, this pattern suggests that “Mexi- 22 This is the case for all coresidential unions combined (marriages and cohabiting unions) and partnerships producing children born in 2000.
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Hispanics and the Future of America can” or “Hispanic” may continue to be quasi-racial categories for many years to come. Another important factor is the shift in ethnic mixing that has accompanied the trends toward cohabitation and nonmarital childbearing. Cohabitation and nonmarital childbearing among Hispanics are more likely to entail partnerships with non-Hispanic blacks than are marriage and marital childbearing. This is especially the case for some Hispanic subgroups, including Puerto Ricans, Central/South Americans, and Cubans. In sum, the overall pattern of ethnic mixing among Hispanics does not have unambiguous implications for the future of racial and ethnic boundaries in the United States. Mexican Americans are likely to maintain a distinct ethnic identity, although some blurring of boundaries will occur due to unions with non-Hispanic whites. Other Hispanic subgroups are less likely to sustain distinct identities over time. Furthermore, their higher levels of ethnic mixing with other Hispanic groups and non-Hispanic blacks suggest somewhat greater ambiguity with regard to their placement in a black–nonblack racial system. In short, while current patterns of immigration and ethnic mixing are contributing to a softening of some racial/ethnic boundaries, both race and ethnicity are likely to remain salient and to intersect in complex ways. REFERENCES Alan Guttmacher Institute. (1999). Teen sex and pregnancy. Facts in brief. Available: http://www.agi-usa.org [accessed March 2004]. Angel, J.L., Angel, R.J., and Markides, K.S. (2002). Later-life immigration: Changes in living arrangements, and headship status among older Mexican-origin individuals. Social Science Quarterly, 81(1), 389–403. Angel, R.J., Angel, J.L., Lee, G.-Y., and Markides, K.S. (1999). Age at migration and family dependency among older Mexican immigrants: Recent evidence from the Mexican American EPESE. The Gerontologist, 39, 59–65. Angel, R.J., Angel, J.L., McClellan, J.L., and Markides, K.S. (1996). Nativity, declining health, and preferences in living arrangements among elderly Mexican Americans. The Gerontologist, 36, 464–473. Baca Zinn, M., and Wells, B. (2000). Diversity within Latino families: New lessons for family social science. In D.H. Demo, K.R. Allen, and M.A. Fine (Eds.), Handbook of family diversity (pp. 252–273). New York: Oxford University Press. Bean, F.D., and Tienda, M. (1987). The Hispanic population of the United States. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Bean, F.D., Curtis, R.L., and Marcum, J.P. (1977). Familism and marital satisfaction among Mexican Americans: The effects of family size, wife’s labor force participation, and conjugal power. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 39(4), 759–767. Bramlett, M.D., and Mosher, W.D. (2002). Cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and remarriage in the United States. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Statistics, 23(22). Bumpass, L., and Lu, H. (2000). Trends in cohabitation and implications for children’s family contexts in the United States. Population Studies, 54, 29–41.
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Hispanics and the Future of America APPENDIX TABLE A5-1 Percentage Family Households by Race/Ethnicity and Generational Status of Householdera Generational Status Mexican Puerto Rican Cuban Central/South American Other Hispanic Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black All households 83.5 74.1 73.0 80.0 75.4 67.1 66.6 1st generation 87.4 72.7 72.7 81.9 78.0 2nd generation 79.8 76.9 78.0 65.9 72.6 Native-born of native parentage 78.5 73.9 58.5 63.6 73.9 67.9 66.6 Standardized for Age of Householderb All households 80.5 70.7 73.7 75.6 72.3 67.9 64.2 1st generation 83.3 72.1 75.6 77.2 72.6 2nd generation 79.5 69.8 78.5 62.9 70.6 Native-born of native parentage 75.9 63.6 67.0 58.0 71.8 67.2 64.4 aBased on standard Census Bureau definition of family household. bAge distribution of non-Hispanic white family householders (5 year age groups) used as standard. SOURCE: Pooled March 1998–2002 CPS files.
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Hispanics and the Future of America APPENDIX TABLE A5-2 Characteristics of Family Households by Race/Ethnicity and Generation of Householdera Household and Generation Mexican Puerto Rican Cuban Central/South American Other Hispanic Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black Percentage married couple All family households 70.4 54.6 77.4 66.6 63.8 82.4 47.5 1st generation 73.3 58.3 76.5 66.9 55.9 2nd generation 66.3 49.9 83.5 58.1 62.6 Native-born of native parentage 66.8 49.4 — — 71.0 82.3 46.9 Percentage cohabiting couple All family households 4.0 4.7 1.3 4.4 3.3 1.7 3.3 1st generation 3.8 3.4 1.3 4.3 3.5 2nd generation 3.7 6.8 1.2 6.8 2.7 Native-born of native parentage 4.6 5.1 — — 3.3 1.8 3.2 Percentage female householder, no partner All family households 18.5 34.5 16.2 21.7 26.6 11.9 42.5 1st generation 15.0 33.2 17.3 21.5 34.4 2nd generation 23.2 35.6 9.1 26.0 26.7 Native-born of native parentage 22.8 38.1 — — 19.7 11.9 43.3 Mean number of persons in household All family households 4.1 3.4 3.1 3.8 3.5 3.0 3.3 1st generation 4.4 3.3 3.1 3.8 3.7 2nd generation 3.6 3.5 3.4 3.4 3.4 Native-born of native parentage 3.7 3.5 — — 3.3 3.1 3.3
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Hispanics and the Future of America Household and Generation Mexican Puerto Rican Cuban Central/South American Other Hispanic Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black Percentage extended family household All family households 8.6 7.4 6.7 9.8 6.6 2.7 7.4 1st generation 9.7 8.9 6.5 10.4 7.0 2nd generation 8.0 5.8 9.2 4.1 10.4 Native-born of native parentage 6.7 4.5 — — 5.2 2.6 7.1 Unweighted number of cases All family households 16,924 3,084 1,393 4,287 2,507 140,639 19,360 1st generation 9,394 1,741 1149 3,888 867 2nd generation 2,788 970 207 259 258 Native-born of native parentage 4,742 373 37 140 1382 123,304 17,485 NOTE:—= fewer than 200 cases in racial/ethnic generation group. aBased on standard Census Bureau definition of family household. SOURCE: Pooled March 1998–2002 CPS files.
Representative terms from entire chapter: