Ethnic Classification among the Mexican American People
Vilma Ortiz, University of California, Los Angeles
Edward E. Telles, University of California, Los Angeles
Abstract: For Mexican Americans, the largest immigrant group throughout the fifty years with the longest continuing history of immigration, sociologists disagree about the extent of ethnic persistence. In this paper, we predict strong persistence of ethnic identification into the third and fourth generations among Mexican Americans. We examine the extent to which respondents identify as Mexican or Mexican American and one behavioral indicator of ethnicity, Spanish proficiency, by generational status. We use a 35-year longitudinal and inter-generational data set of Mexican Americans (from the original survey conducted in Los Angeles and San Antonio as part of the Mexican American People). We find that identifying as Mexican American persists strongly into the fourth generation. This is coupled with high levels of being Spanish proficient, even in the fourth generation.