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Sacramento State News - California State University, Sacramento
December 3, 2007

Serna Center lecture illustrates
ethnicity’s role in public opinion

Sacramento State sociology professor Amy Liu will present a lecture titled, “How does ethnicity affect public opinion about the Sacramento Region?” at noon on Thursday, Dec. 6, in the Lobby Suite of the University Union.

Liu and the students in her research methods class work on the “Annual Survey of Public Opinion and Life Quality in the Sacramento Region.” The group interviews 1,106 randomly selected adults from Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and El Dorado counties, analyzes the data, and releases reports on the results.

“What we’ve found from the 2007 survey is that there are complex relationships among ethnicity, quality of life, and public opinion in the Sacramento region. Hispanic and other ethnic minority groups feel that the Sacramento region is an exciting place to live and that it is also a good place to raise a family—more so than white individuals,” Liu says. “Hispanics and other minorities think the Sacramento region presents a lot of opportunities, even though they are faced with a great deal of challenges.

-“Hispanics and other minorities tend to live in areas with higher crime rates,” she says. “They also tend to have less education and earn less; 59 percent of Hispanic households make less than $50,000 annually, while only 33 percent of whites make less than that.”

Minorities are also more likely to say Sacramento State is exciting, vibrant, but at the same time 45 percent of Hispanics and 39 percent of other racial minority groups don’t know or don’t think Sacramento State provides an affordable education—more so than white residents (32 percent).

There are also diverse opinions among non-white residents in the region. The Hispanic population is more likely to support healthcare and immigration reforms. For example, 71 percent of Hispanics, 28 percent of whites, and 26 percent of other racial groups think undocumented immigrants in California should have the right to obtain a driver's license. However, on issues such as flood control, environment, and a new arena for the Sacramento Kings, the respondent’s ethnic background played a much less important role in affecting public opinions in the Sacramento region.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Serna Center at (916) 278-4512 or visit


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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •