Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Houston: The face of America in the next 20 years

28.04.2009
The demographic revolution and the restructured economy in Houston reflect what other US cities will look like in the years to come

Houston is a reflection of where most of America's cities will be in the next 20 years, according to Stephen Klineberg, Rice University sociologist and director of the annual Houston Area Survey.

Klineberg, who has led the study since its inception 28 years ago, said that along with the major immigration capitals of Los Angeles and New York City, and closely following upon Miami, San Francisco and Chicago, Houston is at the forefront of the new diversity that is refashioning the social and political landscape of urban America.

Issues of public discussion such as gay rights and political affiliation could see dramatic shifts as the social and demographic trends occurring here spread to other U.S. cities.

"Throughout all of its history, Houston was essentially a biracial southern city dominated and controlled, in an automatic, taken-for-granted way, by white men," Klineberg said. "Today it is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse metropolitan areas in the country."

In Houston, and elsewhere, the white population is growing older, while most of the younger adults are black and Hispanic. No force in the world will stop Houston (and America) from becoming more Hispanic and less Anglo as the 21st century unfolds.

Houstonians' views on the new immigration and on the region's burgeoning diversity have been affected by the economic anxieties, sometimes in curious ways, Klineberg said. The number of area residents who believe that the new immigration "mostly strengthens" (rather than "threatens") American culture increased to 49 percent this year from 44 percent in 2007. The new number is still lower than the 57 percent in 2005, but higher than the 39 percent in 1997. The percentage of Harris County residents who favor "granting illegal immigrants a path to legal citizenship if they speak English and have no criminal record" rose from 56 percent in 2008 to 61 percent this year, but it too is lower than the 68 percent in 2007.

Klineberg characterized the attitudes toward immigration as "complex" and "volatile," but said he has detected among respondents "less of a sense today than in recent years that we are being overwhelmed by immigrants coming here and threatening our culture." Still, only 64 percent in the 2009 survey agreed that "the children of illegal immigrants should have the right to attend the public schools," down from 71 percent in 2007.

The effects on politics and social issues

The ongoing demographic transformations have also been a factor in local politics over the past 20 years. In 1989, 50 percent of Houstonians considered themselves Republicans, while 39 percent reported being Democrats. This year, 45 percent identify themselves as Democrats and 39 percent say they are Republicans.

The findings on important social issues reveal two quite different trends. Attitudes toward abortion rights have been virtually unchanged for all of the last two decades in Houston, but views on homosexuality have shifted. On virtually every relevant question, support for gay rights in Houston has grown in what Klineberg described as an "unmistakable, consistent increase over time."

The belief that homosexuality is "morally wrong," for example, dropped steadily from 59 percent in 1997 to 46 percent in 2009. The number who said they had a "close personal friend who is gay or lesbian" grew from 44 percent in 2004 to 56 percent today. Support for gay marriage rose to 43 percent in 2009 from 32 percent two years ago. Tolerant attitudes toward homosexuality closely follow age, Klineberg noted, with younger Houstonians more accepting of gays and lesbians. On the other hand, age is not a good predictor of opinions about abortion, he said, suggesting that this may help to explain their different trajectories over the years.

The ability to track attitudes on a variety of subjects over time is what makes the Houston Area Survey so valuable, he said. The survey each year is designed and directed by Klineberg and his undergraduate sociology class at Rice University. The telephone interviews are carried out by the Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston.

David Ruth | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rice.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>