anglo-american vs. mexican family values

one of the ways to measure familism — behavioral familism (familism “expressed in everyday actions, or major decisions, informed by one’s attachment to family ties”) — is to find out how much contact the individuals in a given population have with their various family members: brothers, sisters, aunt, uncles, cousins, etc.

so i checked out the 2002 general social survey in which they asked questions like…

how often do you contact your cousin?”

…for the results for people whose family origins came from england or wales (“anglo-americans”) and from mexico. (i dunno how “anglo” some people from wales are, but what can an hbd chick do? gotta work with the data available.) obviously there’s no time depth here: the people with family origins from england — well, their families might’ve come over on the mayflower, or the gss people could’ve been interviewing the derb for all i know! same goes for the mexicans — could be recent immigrants, or fourth generation mexican-americans in new mexico.

unfortunately, the sample sizes for mexicans are on the small side — n=27-32 — so … grain of salt! the numbers for anglo-americans are better: n=80-96. here are the results (blue=anglos, orange=mexicans — click on charts for LARGER views):

Consider your favorite brother or sister – how often do you visit this brother or sister?

on the whole, mexicans are more likely to have more frequent person-to-person contact with their favorite sibling than anglo-americans, although the “daily” score is pretty close. no anglo-americans said that they lived with their favorite sibling, whereas 10% of mexicans in the u.s. said so.

Consider your favorite brother or sister – how often do you contact this brother or sister via telephone or letter? (remember: this is 2002.)

again, the general pattern seems to be more frequent telephone calls/correspondence between mexicans and their favorite sibling than with anglo-americans and theirs. twice as many mexicans responded “less often” than anglo-americans, but maybe ’cause that’s ’cause they actually see their favorite sibling so often. -?-

this pattern of mexicans having more contact with their family members than anglos becomes more pronounced/clearer to see with the more distant family members…

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

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

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

now i’m curious to check out other ethnic groups…. (^_^)

previously: hispanic family values

(note: comments do not require an email. my favorite mexican.)


  1. For those interested in questions of familism and society-level corruption, this is so interesting. If you believe there’s a link, the obvious question becomes, ‘OK, how to measure familism exactly?’ I think this method of seeing who stays in contact with relatives the most often is a good one.

    You also mentioned Lipset and Lenz, and I know you can access their article ‘Corruption, Culture, and Markets’ that you linked because it’s on Questia. They mention a ‘familism scale’ they’ve worked out, but what’s frustrating is that though they describe it, they don’t show it. Their description is (p. 120):

    The World Values Survey 1990, together with aggregate statistics from the World Bank, provide data that we employ to create a scale of familism. The first item in the scale deals with unqualified respect for parents, measured by the percentage of people who agreed that regardless of the qualities and faults of one’s parents, a person must always love and respect them. The second item is the percentage of people who think that divorce is unjustifiable. The third, from the World Bank, is the mean number of children per woman.

    But they never show their work! I’m so interested in seeing a list of countries and where they fall on this scale, but I’ve looked and looked online and it doesn’t seem to me that they’ve ever published it.

    I’m just throwing this out there in case you ever stumble upon it, because I know our research interests cross in many places. If you ever see a Lipset/Lenz ‘familism scale’ that actually gives country scores, pleeeeease post about it. Merci d’avance


  2. @m.g. – “If you ever see a Lipset/Lenz ‘familism scale’ tatt actually gives country scores….”

    well, i’ll definitely keep an eye out for it! i might even try to construct one of my own based on those parameters, but it might not turn out to be exactly like L&L’s.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s