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Houston Area Survey Report 2010

Houston Area Survey Report 2010

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Published by: wendysiegle on Nov 09, 2010
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The Houston Area Survey — 2010
Perspectives on a City in Transition
April 2010
Through almost three decades o systematic research, the annual Houston Area Survey has measured thisregion’s remarkable economic and demographic transormations and recorded the way area residents areresponding to them. No other metropolitan area in America has been the ocus o a research program o this scope. None more clearly exemplies the trends that are rapidly reashioning the social and politicallandscape o urban America.Partly in recognition o the increasing value and importance o this research, Rice University ocially launchedthe Institute or Urban Research (IUR) in February 2010. The new institute will provide a permanent homeor the annual surveys, stimulate other metropolitan research, sponsor educational programs, and engage inpublic outreach that advances understanding o pressing urban issues and osters the development o morehumane and sustainable cities.The interviews or the 29th Houston Area Survey, reaching a scientically selected representative sample o 750 Harris County residents — including 100 respondents contacted by cell phone — were conducted by theCenter or Public Policy at the University o Houston between Feburary 3 and March 17, 2010. Analyses o the survey data across the years make it clear that area residents dier signicantly in their experiences andattitudes by whether they are rich or poor, black or white, immigrant or native-born, young or old, urban orsuburban, male or emale, religious or secular, Democrat or Republican, etc. It will be important to understandand appreciate such dierences as we work together to build Houston’s uture.Here, we consider the Harris County population as a whole and ask how the responses obtained in 2010dier importantly rom those given to identical questions by previous representative samples o Houston-arearesidents. Presented on the next pages are some o the central ndings. The survey results are available onlineat iur.rice.edu.
G.
There have been ew changes in attitudes towardimmigration in general, but area residents remain con-icted, especially with regard to undocumented immi-grants.
In this year’s survey, 47% believed that immigrants tothe U.S. generally take more rom the American economy than they contribute, but 44% think they contribute morethan they take.
In 2010, 61% said the local police should take an ac-tive role in identiying undocumented immigrants; 34%thought that responsibility should be let mainly to the ed-eral authorities.
The proportion o area residents who believed that theinfux o undocumented immigrants constitutes a “very seri-ous” problem or Houston grew rom 43% in 2006 to 61%in 2008 and then declined to 52% in this year’s survey.
The percent in avor (“i cost were not a actor”) o “building a 2,000-mile security ence along the U.S.–Mexicoborder to stop all undocumented immigration”grew rom50% in 2006 to 55% in 2008 and to 62% today.
The percent o area residents who support “grantingillegal immigrants a path to legal citizenship i they speakEnglish and have no criminal record” declined rom 68% in2007 to 56% in 2008 and then increased slightly to 59% in2010.
When the respondents in this year’s survey were alsoasked about “allowing the children o undocumented immi-grants to become U.S. citizens i they have graduated romcollege or served in the military,” 81% were in avor, with just 16% opposed.
H.
More generally, the data suggest an increasingacceptance o the burgeoning diversity.
According to the U.S. Census, the population o HarrisCounty in 1980 was 63% Anglo. Today, non-Hispanic whitescomprise less than 35% o the county’s population. One in-dication o that remarkable change can be seen in the rise
For urther inormation or to support the IUR, please contact:
Professor Stephen L. Klineberg, Co-directorInstitute for Urban Research at Rice University713-348-3484, slk@rice.edu or iur.rice.edu
o multiracial churches. When the respondents were askedin 2000 i more than 80% o the people in the religious ser- vice they attend are o their particular ethnic background,73% said, “yes.” In 2010, that gure had dropped to 65%,indicating a signicant increase in the number o multieth-nic congregations.
The proportion o survey participants who thought theincreasing ethnic diversity in Houston will eventually be-come “a source o great strength or the city,” rather than “agrowing problem or the city,” increased rom 60% in 2006to 65% in 2008 to 69% in this year’s survey.
I.
The growing comort with diversity is accompa-nied by mounting support or gay rights.
The belie that homosexuality is primarily “a matter o personal choice,” rather than an inborn trait or somethingcaused by the social environment, declined rom 41% in2008 to 34% in 2010.
The numbers o area residents who were in avor o “homosexuals being legally permitted to adopt children”increased steadily rom 19% in 1991 to 37% in 2004 to 43%in 2008 and to 52% in 2010.
Support or “allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military” grew rom 52% in 2000 to 64% in 2008 andto 73% in 2010.
Signicantly, during these same years there has beenno change, and i anything a slight decrease, in support or abortion rights. The proportions who agreed that “It should be legal or a woman to obtain an abortion i she wants to have one or any reason” declined rom 56% in2006 to 54% in 2008 to 50% today. The percent opposedto “a law that would make it more dicult or a woman toobtain an abortion” ell rom 63% in 2001 to 54% in 2009.
Moreover, support or gay rights was consistently stron-ger among the younger respondents, but there was no rela-tionship between age and any o the measures o abortionattitudes.

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