My latest column for Reuters Opinion argues that to understand the future of America’s Hispanic population, we need to take into account the phenomenon of “ethnic attrition“:
For example, while virtually all third-generation Mexican-Americans with three or four Mexican-born grandparents identify as being of Mexican descent, Duncan and Trejo observe that only 79 percent of those with two Mexican-born grandparents do the same. For those with only one Mexican-born grandparent, the share falls to 58 percent.
Only 17 percent of third-generation Mexican-Americans have three or four Mexican-born grandparents, so the ethnic attrition rate is quite high: 30 percent of Americans with at least one Mexican-born grandparent do not identify as being of Mexican descent. It appears, according to Duncan and Trejo, that the educational attainment of Mexican-Americans who don’t identify as Mexican is higher than for those who do.
This suggests that when we measure life outcomes for third-generation Mexican-Americans, we might be biasing the results by relying on self-identification and thus failing to include large numbers of individuals with at least one Mexican-born grandparent.
The column opens with a discussion of former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s recent suggestion that Sen. Ted Cruz shouldn’t be “defined as a Hispanic,” one of many examples of Cruz getting under the skin of a prominent liberal. Ramesh Ponnuru’s latest Bloomberg View column explores this larger theme of how liberal (and moderate) contempt for Cruz strengthens his position on the right.