Integration-Transnationalism Focus Groups - New York
INTEGRATIONFOCUS GROUPS NEW YORK APRIL 2009 eSilvestre.com
INTRODUCTION• As part of the Alvaro Lima’s Transnational Index project, we performed two focus groups with Dominican immigrants in New York.• In this analysis we integrate the three partial analysis that we have already delivered: the Highlights with the preliminary results of the questionnaire, the Multiple Regression analysis on the questionnaire data and the Qualitative analysis from the group sessions.
OBJECTIVEThe objective of this analysis is tointegrate all the differences foundbetween our two groups: The groupdefined as High Transnational by its highvisibility in the Dominican community asrelated to their home country (High-Tgroup) and the group defined as LowTransnational by its lesser visibility (Low-T group).
METHOD• The seven participants for the first focus group (High-T group) were selected among persons with high visibility in the New York Dominican community: Coordinator of an HIV program, Director of Preschool, High School Principal, State Senators Chief of Human Resources, President of a community organization, Transnational entrepreneur, Head of a community outreach department.
METHOD• The eight participants for the second focus group (Low-T group) were selected among persons with less visibility in this Dominican community: Case mediator, Health promoter, 2 Social workers, Case manager, 3 Teachers.
METHOD• In the Multiple Regression analysis on the questionnaire data, we established five dimensions or models that statistically differentiated between our two levels of Transnationalism:1. Demographics2. Finances3. Civic Participation4. Contacts & Media5. Political Participation
METHOD• Furthermore, in the qualitative group sessions we explored elements of a 6th dimension: 6. Cultural Psychology.• This time, we composed tables with the significant differential variables for these six dimensions on the three partial analysis delivered: Highlights, Multiple Regression and Qualitative.
VARIABLE HIGHLIGHTS REGRESSION QUALITATIVE Level of Transnationalism High T Low T High T Low T High T Low TDemographicsCity NY NYGender Male FemaleEducation College CollegeTrade High visibility Low visibilityAnnual personal income > $35,000 < $35,000 0.888Annual household income > $35,000 ≤ $35,000US born children 40% 29%Total household 2.5 4.25Adults in household 1.67 2.88Years in US 33.67 16.88 0.594Residence ownership 57% Own 100% Rent 0.720Legal status 86% Citizen 63% CitizenIn the focus group sessions (Qualitative) we did not include anydemographic variable, hence, in this table we only find data fromthe Highlights analysis of the questionnaire and the MultipleRegression analysis.We can not make assumptions on the gender of the participantsbecause there was a majority of males in the High-T group and amajority of female in the Low-T group. Both groups had collegelevel education.
• Nevertheless, the other significant demographic variables describe two well differentiated groups: The High-T group have much more visibility in the immigrant community because of the significance of their jobs.• They and their households earn more than $35,000 a year each. The importance of the annual personal income in predicting the level of Transnationalism was confirmed by the regression model Demographics II, where it was the best predictor with a very high and significant correlation (r = .888, p < .001).
• Almost half of their children were born in US and their total household (2.5) is closer to the American average (2.6) than that of the Low-T group (4.25).• Also, for the High-T group, the average of adults in the household (1.67) is half the average of adults for the Low-T group (2.88).
• By the contrary, the subjects in the High-T group have been living in US twice the years (33.67) than the Low-T group (16.88).• The variable years in US was also included in the regression model Demographics II with a moderate but significant correlation (r = .594, p .05).• Furthermore, 86% in the High-T group are American citizens against 63% in the Low-T group.
• Moreover, 57% in the High-T group own their residence and all in the Low-T group rent it.• This residence ownership variable was the second best predictor in the Demographic model II with a high and significant correlation by itself (r = .720, p < .01).
VARIABLE HIGHLIGHTS REGRESSION QUALITATIVE Level of Transnationalism High T Low T High T Low T High T Low TFinancesUS savings account 57% 75%Country savings account 14% 75% -0.607US deposit certificate 29% 0%Country deposit certificate 43% 13%Annual savings $ 17,500.00 $ 3,750.00Country investments 29% 50%US Investments 57% 13%Both Credit/Debit card 100% 50% 0.523US obligations 71% 50% Children education Credit cards Insurances Cell phones Family Utilities ClothingUS education loan 14% 50%US mortgage 71% 0%No US obligations 29% 50%No country obligations 57% 75% Regarding to their finances, our two groups are clearly different. The High-T group tends to have deposit certificates in both their country and the US, instead of savings accounts, which are characteristics in the Low-T group, especially in their country.
• To have a savings account in their country was the best predictor variable in the multiple regression Finances model II presenting a negative moderate but highly significant correlation with the level of Transnationalism (r = -.607, p < .01). 75% in the Low-T group have this type of account (High-T group= 14%).• The other predictor in the mentioned model was to have both credit and debit cards, also with a moderate and highly significant correlation, this time positive (r = .523, p < .05). All in the High-T group have both cards, compared to half in the Low-T group.
• The High-T group invest more frequently in the US (57%), while the Low-T group does it in their country (50%).• The High-T save way more ($17,000 a year in average) than the Low-T group ($3,750 a year).• Also, in the High-T group they have more US economic obligations. In the questionnaire, the main one was US mortgage (71%), while for the Low-T group it was US education loan (50%).
• When these US economic obligations were described in the qualitative sessions, the High-T group used higher order obligations (children education, insurances, family) than the concrete ones quoted by the Low-T group (credit cards, cell phones, utilities, clothing).• This concrete order does not seems related to their educational level because both group had college education.
VARIABLE HIGHLIGHTS REGRESSION QUALITATIVE Level of Transnationalism High T Low T High T Low T High T Low TCivic participationCountry artistic shows 71% 38%US artistic shows 43% 13%Country city/school meetings 27% 87% -0.464US city/school meetings 57% 87%Country committee membership 14% 50%US committee membership 57% 37% 0.395Country club officer 14% 38%US newspaper letter 43% 13% 0.413CIVIC PARTICIPATION Volunteer in US Volunteer in country No religious Religious No money Money Hometown celebrationsAgain, the level of civic participation was different for both groups.The High-T group attended more frequently to artistic shows, both fromUS and their country, than the Low-T group.Also, they have written a letter to a US newspaper more often. Thisvariable was the second best predictor in the multiple regression CivicParticipation model II, with a positive and moderate correlation with theLevel of Transnationalism, which reached a marginal signification byitself (r = .413, p < .10).
• Instead, the Low-T group attended more frequently to meetings from their town and school, both in their country and in US.• Attending to these meetings in their country was in fact the best predictor in the multiple regression Civic Participation model II. To attend to these meetings correlates negatively and moderately, but significantly, with the level of Transnationalism (r = -.464, p < .05). The Low-T group attended them more often (87%) than the High-T group (29%).
• Moreover, in the Low-T group they have been members of a committee or officers at a club or organization in their country more often, while in the High-T group they have been members more frequently of a US committee.• The variable US committee membership was also included as a predictor in the Civic Participation model II, having a positive and moderate correlation with the Level of Transnationalism (r = .395, p < .10), reaching a marginal significance by itself..
• In the qualitative sessions we learned that the members of the High-T group decidedly volunteer at cultural, civic or charity organizations in US, while those of the Low-T group did it in their country.• Almost none of the High T participants give money to charity organizations with links to their home country, while the opposite is true for the Low T group: almost everyone of them give money to these charities.
• Some in the Low-T group were members of religious organizations linked to their home country and give money to them, but none in the High-T group did it.• Furthermore, all in the Low-T group visit their home towns and participate in its celebrations, while half in the High-T group does not.
VARIABLE HIGHLIGHTS REGRESSION QUALITATIVE Level of Transnationalism High T Low T High T Low T High T Low TContactsFrequency of calls: More than 2/week 29% 88% -0.626 < Daily to 2/weekLength of call: 30+ minutes 71% 50% 30+ minutes >Internet 71% 38%Travel as communication 86% 0%Length of stay: More than 3 weeks 0% 12.50%Family visit US 57% 88%Frequency of family visits 1/year or less 2/year or more -0.615Returning to live in country 14.29% 75% Dreams of returning Concrete plans for itMediaUS radio 14% 50%US magazine 0% 50% -0.564 There are several differences between our two groups regarding the contacts with their home country and the media that they prefer. The main difference is the frequency of calls: while 88% in the Low-T group calls more than twice a week, only 29% in the High- T group does it. In the qualitative sessions was confirmed that in the Low-T group they call from daily to more than twice a week.
• The importance of the frequency of calls to differentiate the two groups was reconfirmed in the multiple regression analysis: in the Contacts & Media model II this was the best predictor, with a negative and moderate correlation with the Level of Transnationalism, which reached statistical significance by itself (r = -.626, p < .01).• Nevertheless, the length of the calls was longer for the High-T group: 71% of them called for more than 30 minutes, compared to 50% in the Low-T group.
• The lengthier calls in the High-T group were confirmed in the qualitative sessions.• Also in the qualitative sessions we learned that 71% in the High-T group used the Internet to communicate with their home country, compared to a 38% in the Low-T group.• Moreover, 86% in the High-T group considered Travel as a mean of communication with their country, while no one in the Low-T group did it.
• When traveling to their home country, in the Low-T group there were some who stayed more than 3 weeks, while everyone in the High-T group stayed less than 3 weeks.• Also, the family of those in the Low-T group visits them in the US (88%) more frequently than in the High-T group (57%).• Moreover, the frequency of these visits is higher in the Low-T group (twice per year or more) than in the High-T group (once per year or less).
• This Frequency of family visits variable was included in the Contacts & Media model II, showing a negative and moderate correlation with the Level of Transnationalism reaching signification by itself (r = -.615, p < .01).• While 75% in the Low-T group have concrete plans to return to live in their home country and dream about it, only 14.29% in the High-T group does it.
• Regarding the preferred media, half in the Low-T group preferred US magazines and radio, while the High-T group favored the attendance to country and US artistic shows.• The preference for US magazines was included in the Contacts & Media model II, showing a moderate and negative significant correlation with the Level of Transnationalism (r = -.564, p < .05).
VARIABLE HIGHLIGHTS REGRESSION QUALITATIVE Level of Transnationalism High T Low T High T Low T High T Low TPolitical participationVote in US elections 86% 62% US politicsLetter to US congressman 71% 50%US political meetings 43% 25%Parades in US from country parties 0% 50% -0.564 Country politicsCountry political meetings 14% 50%Parades in US from US parties 14% 37%Donate Money to US political parties 71% 25%The High-T group is generally more involved with the US politicalevents, while the Low-T group favor their home country politics.86% in the High-T group vote in the US elections, compared to 62%in the Low-T group. 71% in the High-T group have wrote a letter to a US congressman,at least once, but only 50% in the Low-T group have done it. Also, 43% in the High-T group attend to US political meetings, whileonly 25% in the Low-T group does it.
• None in the High-T group attend to parades in US from their home country parties, while 50% in the Low-T group does it.• The importance of this variable was confirmed in the multiple regression analysis, where it was the only predictor of the Level of Transnationalism included in the Political Participation model II, showing a moderate and negative correlation which reached significance by itself (r = -.564, p <.05).
• Those in the Low-T group also attend more often (37%) to parades from US parties than those in the High-T group (14%).• Half of the Low-T group attend to meetings from their country political parties, compared to 14% in the High-T group.• The greater involvement of the High-T group in the US political events and the greater involvement of the Low-T group in their country politics was confirmed in the qualitative sessions, where we learned that in the High-T group they even donated money to US political parties.
VARIABLE HIGHLIGHTS REGRESSION QUALITATIVE Level of Transnationalism High T Low T High T Low T High T Low TCultural psychologyDRAWINGS Dependency Alienation Assimilation Dreams of returningCULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY Openly admitted discrimination Satisfied with incomeTransnationalismBelong in US 4.43 3.38Allegiance to your country 2.00 1.00BENEFITS OF TRANSNATIONALISM: Personal Cultural identity Satisfaction from helping family To US Strongest diversity, Contribution to US Politics, Better image economy through work and taxesThe main theme on the drawings of the High-T group was afeeling of dependency from the American society. After being inthe US they have reached completion and well being and theydo not long for returning to live in their country of origin. As inthe rest of the qualitative session, they showed an strongerassimilation reflected in their active participation in social,economical, cultural and political events in the US.
• On the other hand, added to the feelings of dependence, half of the drawings of the Low- T group rather reflected feelings of alienation from the American society.• They are not assimilated in their host country, they participate more in their home country activities than in the US society.• They are living here as a sacrifice for their families and are just waiting to make real their dreams of returning to live in their country.
• Although in the High-T group they admitted more openly being discriminated in the US, somehow they have overcome these feelings and made use of their opportunities reaching visibility and a satisfactory income.• The Low-T group agree with having had enough opportunities and achievements, but they are not satisfied with their income.
• Among the scales administered to both groups, the one related with their belonging in US clearly differentiated between the High- T and the Low-T groups.• This one was a Semantic Differential type scale which asked: How do you feel that you belong in the US?• The graphic scale consisted in seven points, ranging from Weakly (1) to Strongly (7) and the subjects were asked to place themselves in the point that best represented their feelings in this regard.
• The average of belonging for the High-T group was 4.43 and for the Low-T group was 3.38.• A t test between these averages showed that the average of belonging for the High-T group was marginally higher than that of the Low-T group (t = 1.160, p< .10, 1-tailed).
• Another similar scale also showed a marginal significance in differentiating between our two groups: Allegiance to your country VS Allegiance to US.• This scale also had 7 points, this time ranging from +3 (Strongest allegiance to your country) to -3 (Strongest allegiance to US).• For the High-T group, the average allegiance to their country was 2, while for the Low-T group this average was 1.
• A t test performed on these averages showed that the average allegiance to their country was higher for the High-T group, reaching a marginal significance (t = 1.103, p = .11, 1-tailed).• When asked for their perceived personal benefits from Transnational behaviors, while in the Low-T group these benefits are mainly related to emotional factors like the satisfaction from helping their families, in the High-T group, besides these emotional factors, they mentioned the enrichment of the culture and the cultural identity.
• Finally, when they were asked for the benefits from Transnationalism for US, the High-T group distinctly mentioned a stronger diversity, politics and a better image.• The contribution to the US economy through cheap labor, work and taxes, as well as the contribution of different cultures were mentioned in both groups, but more frequently in the Low T group.
DEMOGRAPHICS• The High-T group was defined because of its higher visibility in the Dominican community in New York. They perform jobs of great significance for this community.• They have a higher annual personal income (more than $35,000), own their residence and have being living longer in US.
DEMOGRAPHICS• Also, most of their children were born in the US, being their total household almost the same as the American average and half of that of the Low-T group.• Moreover, the great majority of the High- T group were American citizens.
FINANCES• The High-T group have deposit certificates in US and their country, as well as both credit and debit cards, while the Low-T group mostly have savings accounts in their country.• The High-T group participants invest more frequently in the US, where they are paying their mortgages.
FINANCES• Also, they save more than four times the amount that the Low-T group does.• Furthermore, they have more US economic obligations of higher order than the concrete obligations of the Low-T group.
CIVIC PARTICIPATION• As the Low-T group lived longer in their country, they were capable to attend more frequently to meetings from their town or school than the High-T group. They also visit more frequently their home towns and participate in its celebrations.• Nevertheless, the High-T group was rather capable of being officers in US organizations more frequently.
CIVIC PARTICIPATION• Another characteristic of the High-T was that they have written a letter to a US newspaper more often.• Also, they volunteered at cultural, civic or charity organizations in US but do not donated money, while the Low-T group volunteered at organizations and religious groups linked to their country and donate money to them.
CONTACTS & MEDIA• The Low-T group call their country more frequently, daily to twice a week, while the High-T group call longer (for more than 30 minutes) and use more frequently the Internet and travel to communicate, but their stay is shorter.• While the Low-T group preferred US magazines and radio, the high-T group favored the attendance to country and US artistic shows.
CONTACTS & MEDIA• Probably because the High-T group traveled more often to their country, the Low-T group received more frequently visits from their family in the US.• Apart from keeping up with the family, the distinct motives for the family visits in the US for the High-T group were tourism and business, against health and vacation for the Low-T group.
POLITICAL PARTICIPATION• The High-T group is actively involved in US politics, while the Low-T group favor their country political events.• The Low-T group attend more frequently to political parades and meetings from their country parties.• More frequently, the High-T group vote in US elections, attend to US parties political meetings, donate money to them and have wrote a letter to a US congressman.
CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY• In the High-T group, the perceived personal benefits from Transnational behaviors, apart from the emotional factors related to their families, included the enrichment of the culture and the cultural identity.• They also perceived that the benefits to the US from these behaviors are related to a stronger diversity, politics and a better international image. The Low-T group perceived these benefits as related to cheap labor and taxes for the US economy.
CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY• The High-T group is better assimilated to their host country. Surpassing their feelings of discrimination, they have succeed in taking advantage of their opportunities and now have satisfactory achievements and income.• They feel that they depend on the US society, but also they feel that they strongly belong here.
CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY• The stronger assimilation of the High-T group reflects in their active participation in social, economical, cultural and political events in the US.• On the contrary, the Low-T group have more frequently feelings of alienation from the American society. They are not well assimilated in their host country and rather participate more in their home country activities.
CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY• For them, living in the US is a burden, only justified by the well being that they can bring to their families.• The majority in the Low-T group have concrete plans to return to live in their country and are just waiting for the right time to return to live in their country and make real their paradisiacal dreams.
CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY• Finally, we have to introduce a very important finding from the questionnaire: the difference between the allegiance to their country in our two groups.• The allegiance to their country, measured by a self assessed scale, was higher for the High-T group, meaning that they are well assimilated in their host country, but that they are still more loyal to their home country than the Low-T group.
RECOMMENDATIONS• Apart from being more visible to the Dominican community in New York, the High Transnational group is better assimilated in their host society.• They perform very important activities for this community but they travel more often to their home country and keep a social network there.
RECOMMENDATIONS• Here we have the picture of a High Transnational group better assimilated to their host society but still with greater allegiance to their home country than the Low Transnational group.• Assimilated in the American society, they have not lost the fundamental, navel ties with their country.
RECOMMENDATIONS• On the contrary, the Low Transnational group live in US mostly by their economic circumstances and are eager to return to live in their country. In their heart, they have not left it.• Now we have to replicate these findings with another community. Naturally, the comparison community could have their own particular characteristics and we can not expect to replicate all the findings.
RECOMMENDATIONS• Nevertheless, we have defined the most important predictors of the Level of Transnationalism in the Dominican groups and we expect that the Brazilian groups will enrich these predictors with new important variables.• With the results of the upcoming Brazilian focus groups, we will be best equipped to design an Index of Transnationalism and validate it.
INTEGRATIONFOCUS GROUPS NEW YORK APRIL 2009 eSilvestre.com Alvaro Lima