A new study provided exclusively to Portada by MediaVest and Ipsos MediaCT reveals that  Hispanics have a much more optimistic perspective on  on their lives, and the state of America more generally.  This is even more the case for Spanish-dominant Hispanics.


Key findings include:

  • 39% of Hispanics, and 51% of those taking the survey in Spanish, are “Pan-Optimists” – a consumer segment characterized by a broadly-based sense of optimism that extends beyond personal and family matters to include optimism about America, the economy, and other “distal” concerns.
  • In contrast, among the general population, only 21% are Pan-Optimists, with the most prevalent segment (37%) being “Personal Optimists” – a consumer segment characterized optimism about “close to home” matters such as one’s life and one’s family, but pessimistic outlooks about broader matters such as America and the next generation.
  • Hispanics in general, and those taking the survey in Spanish in particular, are more likely to report having a clear sense of their life goals, to believe the American Dream is alive, and to consider the American Dream to have been personally inspirational to them.

Background & Methodology
MediaVest commissioned Ipsos MediaCT to conduct Optimism in America, a study designed to take the pulse of Americans today with regard to optimism, goals, and the American Dream.  The study was conducted via an online survey of 1,033 adult Americans during October 2011.  The results were weighted to reflect the U.S. population according to U.S. Census data.

Hispanic Representation
To ensure a broad and accurate representation of Hispanic Americans, respondents were given the option of taking the survey in English or Spanish.  To further ensure the adequate representation of less-acculturated and Spanish-language-dominant Hispanics, respondents were recruited through multiple sources, including the well-respected Cada Cabeza research panel (http://www.knowledgenetworks.com/resources/cada-cabeza.html). In total, 144 of the 1,033 (14%) respondents described themselves as Hispanic; of these, 88 took the survey in English, and 56 took the survey in Spanish.

Setting Goals is Key to Understanding Optimism
Optimism is determined by the goals people set for themselves.  People continue to re-evaluate their goals and dreams.  During a recession, and in the short-term following a recession, people search for stability.  They find this stability in their families and friends while reprioritizing monetary goals (again, the short-term).

Respondents were asked their agreement to the statement, “Because of the economy, I have had to put a lot of my dreams ‘on hold.’” Fully 60% of Hispanics agreed with that statement.  That’s a larger share than non-Hispanic white/Caucasian (50%), non-Hispanic Asian (50%), and Non-Hispanic Black/African-American (39%).

The table below shows the relative importance of each type of goal across four major ethnic and racial groups.  Family is important to all groups while “personal goals” have a stronger pull among Hispanics.  Additionally, all groups rate “career goals” the lowest of the five groups measured.

% Extremely Important

Hispanic Any Race

Non-Hispanic Black/Af.Amer.

Non-Hispanic White/Caucasian

Non-Hispanic Asian

Family Goals (128)

Family Goals (122)

Family Goals (142)

Family Goals (144)

Personal Goals (116)

Spiritual Goals (113)

Personal Goals (111)

Spiritual Goals (96)

Spiritual Goals (101)

Financial Goals (98)

Spiritual Goals (108)

Financial Goals (94)

Financial Goals (82)

Personal Goals (98)

Financial Goals (84)

Personal Goals (88)

Career Goals (73)

Career Goals (70)

Career Goals (55)

Career Goals (78)

The data in ( ) above are relative indices.  Step 1: The five goal groups were averaged for each of the racial and ethnic segment noted.  Step 2: Each goal group was then indexed by that average for each racial and ethnic segment (goal group / average of the five goal groups *100).


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