Is being of American ancestry important for U.S. citizenship? 1,253 Americans were asked. They said:
1.) Generally, the younger in the USA are getting more likely to say “Ancestry is Important”. I did not expect this. This is in line with the curious worldwide results showing the same. A commenter proposed several ideas why Western youth would be getting more “voelkisch”.
2.) Class polarization is dramatic among the younger cohorts (see #4 and #5 below). This is in line with patterns seen in Europe.
As elsewhere, the real story is in the class divisions of the “Yes”-es (the ‘ancestry is important’ side).
3.) Over-50s : “Yes”-es skew weakly lower-class. Note: The over-50 sample was about 40% pre-baby-boomers and 60% baby-boomers [the first generation of Americans to not replace themselves] (I infer this from the share of the over-50 sample claiming to be “retired”, 192/521, 36.9%).
4.) Gen-Xers (ages 30-50, i.e. born 1956-1976) show strong class polarization: Gen-X upper-class [top-26%] shows the softest support for “Yes” of any age/class combination measured, while Gen-X lower-class [bottom-40%] show the strongest.
Presenting the numbers in another way,
Among 100 American-Gen-Xers who answer “Yes” (vs. overall sample)
18 are Upper-Class (26% overall)
33 are Middle-Class (34% overall)
49 are Lower-Class (40% overall)
["Yes" skews strongly lower-class.]
5.) Youth (b. after 1977) may be an unusable sample from which to draw inferences: “Voelkisch” attitudes appear to have shifted towards the middle-class. This may be an artifact of a disproportionate number of post-1965-ers (of Nonwhite immigrant stock) being picked up in the Young/Lower cohort, nearly all of whom presumably say “No”. The survey does not measure race, and there is no good proxy for it. In other words, it’s just as possible that the strong skewing towards the lower-class seen in Gen-Xers continues among white youth, even though it is not seen here.
Comparison to Europe
6.) Like the USA, Germany, Norway, Poland show “voelkisch” attitudes skewing increasingly lower-class among the younger generations. The most dramatic such result remains Germany.
7.) Norway is the only country surveyed so far that shows upper-class Gen-Xers deserting the “voelkisch” banner as dramatically as in the USA.
8.) The USA youth/upper-class shows an increase in “Yes” over earlier generations of the upper-class, as does Norway. Poland and Germany show declines.
Generalized Criticisms of this data:
– A valid criticism of asking this question to Americans is that the ancestors of 98% of residents of the USA were not there in 1600. The ancestors of the Germans and Norwegians and so on, on the other hand, have been in Europe for hundreds of generations — or even thousands, if the Paleolithic R1b hypothesis is correct. I don’t know how this would skew results, if at all, but it is there.
– Something like 20% of USA residents have ancestral roots outside the USA since 1965 alone (“post-1965ers”). These are heavily youth. [See point-#7 above].
– Each country will have its own perspective on this question, so straight-on international comparisons may be deceptive. In the USA, there is the issue of “birthright citizenship” — any child born on U.S. soil, of whatever parents, it automatically a citizen. Some respondents may have interpreted this question to be over that issue, rather than a philosophical question of “Voelkisch” attitudes vs. One-World-ism.
– What explains Generation-X’s polarization in attitudes on this question in the USA?
– Why was this polarization softened by the subsequent generation (“Millennials”)?