following up from yesterday’s post, i thought i’d look at familism in some other ethnic groups in the u.s. in addition to the anglos and mexicans.

again, i’m looking at how much contact the individuals from different groups have with family members. this is a way of measuring “behavioral familism” — familism “expressed in everyday actions, or major decisions, informed by one’s attachment to family ties”. this time i stuck to just extended-family members (aunt/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins) ’cause i thought that might be more telling — if you’re in regular contact … a LOT … with these more distant relatives, you’re probably familistic. that’s my thinking, anyway.

looked at the following questions from the 2002 general social survey:

- “How often do you contact your uncles/aunts?”
- “How often do you contact your nieces/nephews?”
- “How often do you contact your cousin(s)?”

the possible answers were:

- “More than twice in last 4 weeks.”
- “Once or twice in last 4 weeks.”
- “Not at all in last 4 weeks.”
- “I have no living relative of this type.”

i’ve collapsed the first two together to make the responses sorta “yes” or “no” (contacted x in the last 4 weeks). i also skipping the “no living relative” answer. if you’re dying to see all data, i can post it.

the variables chosen were: COUNTRY OF FAMILY ORIGIN, HOW OFTEN DOES R CONTACT UNCLES OR AUNTS, HOW OFTEN DOES R CONTACT NIECES AND NEPHEWS, HOW OFTEN DOES R CONTACT COUSIN, and for the irish RELIGION IN WHICH RAISED to try to distinguish the scotch-irish from roman catholic irish. none of it is perfect, i know, but you gotta work with whatcha got.

the countries with a good-sized data set (n≧50) were: england & wales (the “anglos” – n=96), italy (n=53-54), scotch-irish (protestant irish – n=51), and germany (n=150). the mexicans (n=32) and irish catholics (n=42-43) came up a little short, but i’ve included them anyway. keep in mind that the numbers for those two groups are kinda low.

without further ado (click on charts for LARGER views)…

“How often do you contact your uncles/aunts?”

“How often do you contact your nieces/nephews?”

“How often do you contact your cousin(s)?”

as you can see, in each of the three categories, all of the other groups are in contact with their distant-ish relatives more than the anglos — except for the scotch-irish who appear to behave the most like the anglos here. mexicans are much more likely to keep in regular contact with their aunts/uncles or nieces/nephews than anglo-americans (53% vs. 32% and 75% vs. 48% respectively), but italian-americans are also much more likely to keep in touch with their aunts/uncles on a monthly basis (47%). the roman catholic irish, too, more familistic than anglo-americans — and even german-americans, except for the keeping-in-touch-with-nieces/nephews category, appear to be more familistic than anglo-americans.

so much for assimilation.

remember that familism goes hand-in-hand with fun things like corruption.

i also think it’s kinda neat to see that the familism goes more in the direction of the genetic flow than not: greater contact by aunts/uncles to nieces/nephews than the reverse, for instance. cool.

previously: anglo-american vs. mexican family values

(note: comments do not require an email. familism!)

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