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California Dreamers: A public opinion portrait of the most diverse generation the nation has known

NAM Poll of California Youth

New America Media, Press Release, Posted: Apr 25, 2007

For immediate release:
April 25, 2007


Hannah Harte, NAM


SAN FRANCISCO -- Family breakdown is the biggest challenge youth see facing their generation, according to a poll of youth released by New America Media (NAM) today Wednesday, April 25th. It trumps the war in Iraq, global warming and even stress about school.

NAM, which has been conducting multilingual polls for its ethnic media network since 2002, commissioned Bendixen & Associates to conduct the first ever cell phone survey of young people in California. The poll reveals a deep yearning among 16 to 22 year olds for traditional structures -- marriage, parenthood, religion and the benefit of a college education. At the same time, respondents (59 percent of whom are youth of color and 49 percent immigrants or the children of immigrants) show post-minority attitudes about race and ethnic differences.

"These young people represent the forefront of the cultural continuum,” says Sandy Close, executive director of New America Media. "To gauge their hopes, fears and perspectives about the future is to glimpse who we are becoming as a society."

Anti-immigrant sentiment is a more critical issue for this generation than racism or discrimination, the poll concludes. An overwhelming 82% of respondents say they support giving illegal immigrants a chance to earn legal status and citizenship. 

“One of the most diverse generations this nation has known is also one of the most inclusive, and that sends a very powerful message to the state,” says NAM Contributing Editor and award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein.

Silicon Valley DeBug Magazine Youth Coordinator Raj Jayadev says young people have “taken what has once divided us — race, ethnicity, and gender — and used them to bring us closer. Never has a generation made carrying multiple identities look so easy.”

Nearly all (87%) are open to marrying or entering into a life partnership with someone of a different race.

“Overall, these young people reflect the optimism of the American Dream,” says Close. “They believe they will attend college and do better than their parents.  That may also reflect the optimism of their parents, many of whom immigrated here to give their children a better life.”

Nationally recognized pollster Sergio Bendixen conducted the poll, commissioned by New America Media (NAM) and co-sponsored by the University of California Office of the President. The pollsters surveyed 601 Asian, African American, Latino and White youth in English.


For poll results, visit www.newamericamedia.org/polls after 9:00 a.m. PDT, 4/25/07.
A video interview with Sandy Close, executive director of NAM, speaking about the youth poll is available upon request. Video footage is NTSC SD broadcast quality, and is available in either Quicktime or Mini DV formats. Please contact Cliff Parker by email - cparker@newamericamedia.org, or by phone (415) 559-2844, to obtain a copy.

Special thanks to The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, The Walter and Elise Haas Fund and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
for their generous support of this poll.

New America Media | 275 9th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 | 415-503-4170 | www.newamericamedia.org

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