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​Diversity and Immigration in America

A majority says diversity makes the country stronger, yet half think immigrants should adopt an essential American culture when they come to the country.

​Most Americans say diversity makes the country stronger and values such as constitutional rights, a fair judicial system and the American Dream are important aspects of the nation’s identity.  Yet there are racial and ethnic divisions on some features of national identity. Overall, 51% say they want a country with an essential American culture, while 46% want a multi-cultural country. 

Sixty percent of Americans think diversity makes the country much or moderately stronger, up from 53% in the AP-NORC October 2018 survey.  This includes 56% of whites, 63% of blacks, and 71% of Hispanics. 

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Question: The United States has a diverse population, with people of many different races, ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds. Do you think this diversity makes the country:
Source: AP-NORC poll conducted September 20-23, 2019, with 1,286 adults

Most blacks and Hispanics think the United States should be a country made up of many cultures and values, while most whites believe that the United States should be a country with an essential American culture and values.

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Question: Which of the following statements is closer to your opinion about what kind of country you 
think the United States should be?
Source: AP-NORC poll conducted September 20-23, 2019, with 1,286 adults

All in all, more than 8 in 10 Americans think things like the rule of law and liberties defined by the Constitution are important to the United States’ identity as a nation, while fewer think a shared American culture or a mix of cultures and values play an important role for the country’s identity. 

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Question: How important is each of the following to the United States’ identity as a nation? 
Source: AP-NORC poll conducted September 20-23, 2019, with 1,286 adults

While most whites think immigrants tend to retain their own cultures and values, a plurality of blacks and Hispanics think they tend to adopt American cultures and values. 

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Question: Thinking specifically about recent immigrants, that is people who have come to the United States to live and work in the past ten years or so, which of the following statements is closer to your opinion about these immigrants coming to the United States?  
Source: AP-NORC poll conducted September 20-23, 2019, with 1,286 adults

Just 20% of Americans think legal immigration should be reduced, down from 28% in the AP-NORC August 2018 survey.  Thirty-five percent think legal immigration should be increased and 43% think it should remain as it is. 

Most Americans think legal immigration to the United States enhances the country’s reputation and strengthens American companies with the expertise of skilled workers. Few think there is a major risk that immigrants would burden the welfare system, reduce job availability, or commit crimes. 

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Question: When immigrants come legally to the United States, how much of a benefit is each of the following? / When immigrants come legally to the United States, how much of a risk is each of the following?  
Source: AP-NORC poll conducted September 20-23, 2019, with 1,286 adults

The nationwide poll was conducted September 20-23, 2019, using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,286 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.