Survey Shows Hispanic Immigrants Got the Census Message

The second in a week-long series examining the 2010 Census and immigrant communities.

Spreading the word about the census in Jackson Heights, Queens. (Photo: John Rudolph)

A new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center has found that Hispanic immigrants are more likely to mail back their census forms than U.S.-born Hispanics, an indication that census outreach campaigns have reached one target – but missed another.

Nine out of ten Hispanics who participated in the telephone survey said they had filled out their census forms or planned to soon, according to the poll that included nearly 1,000 people.

But while 91 percent of the foreign-born said they were willing to participate in the 2010 Census, only 78 percent U.S.-born Hispanics said they would do the same.

The survey also showed foreign-born Hispanics to be more trusting of the promises made by the Census Bureau – which were spread through an intensive media and community-based campaign in Spanish– namely that being counted will benefit communities and that the bureau will not share people’s answers with other federal agencies.

According to the study, about 80 percent of foreign-born Hispanics believe their information won’t be shared, as opposed to 66 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics. About 80 percent of foreign-born Hispanics also believe the census will help their community, compared to 57 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics.

Despite sluggish return rates in heavily Hispanic states, leaders and activists celebrated the results of the survey, which was released on April 1, known as Census Day.

Editors note:  Spanish is one of the six official languages of the 2010 Census.  Read Feet in Two Worlds’ reports on immigrant New Yorkers who can submit census forms in other official languages including Russian, Korean and Chinese.

The Feet in Two Worlds project on the Census is made possible thanks to the generous support of the 2010 Census Outreach Initiative Fund at The New York Community Trust and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

AboutAnnie Correal
Annie Correal is a reporter based in New York, where she has covered crime, immigration and breaking news for The New York Times and El Diario, and contributed radio pieces to WNYC, NPR and This American Life. She is working on a new, Spanish language storytelling podcast, Radio Ambulante ( scheduled to launch in 2012. Annie was born in Bogota and raised between California and Colombia.