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Monday, June 21, 2004

Kids Live Segregated Lives

Interesting study (PDF) reported on by the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription):

Despite sharing a pop culture infused with a variety of ethnic influences, the most ethnically diverse generation of American kids ever is growing up in predominantly segregated environments.

...the vast majority of kids in the U.S. are growing up in homogeneous enclaves where they don't have contact with peers of other ethnicities, despite the fact that the U.S. is more diverse than ever.

It is possible to deduce from the study that the U.S. remains generations away from abandoning old prejudices and fully embracing diversity. But virtually none of the children used skin color, hair type or accent when told to describe differences between themselves and kids of other ethnicities.

Some interesting findings (not exactly surprising):

African-American children, according to the study, had the most positive sense of self, being more likely than any other ethnic group to see themselves as influential. White girls tend to be the least satisfied with their appearance. Hispanic families, more than any other group, speak more than one language at home.

Overall, 55% of children in the U.S. receive a weekly allowance. White children get the smallest -- an average of $9.20. Asian children receive the highest allowance, $13.70, and are expected to perform the fewest chores in exchange. Asian families do have high academic expectations, however.

Roughly two-thirds of Hispanic families, more than any other group, speak more than one language at home. That is a source of pride, not shame. The study found that Hispanic children are most likely to celebrate their culture, a likely reflection of their recognition that the Latino community is growing in numbers and influence.

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