The 32nd Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey

The results are out, and it seems like the Houston area is a lot more progressive than some would want it to be on the hottest issues of the day:  immigration, abortion, and same sex marriage. And when it comes to attitudes about the future of diversity in Houston, it seems we are on the right track, too.

Ethnic attitudes (as impacted by immigration) among younger Anglos are much more positive today, according to the Survey. A huge majority of Anglos ages 18 to 59 feel diversity is a good thing. The same group feels good about having the same or more “legal immigration” than in the previous ten years. Among all age groups, over 60% support a “path to citizenship.” A bit of a blip is a question about whether immigration strengthens, and not threatens, American culture. While the vast majority of Anglos 18 to 29 feel it does, those 30 to 60+ seem to have some reservations.

As far as Houston is concerned, there does seem to be hope for a more tolerant future. According to the survey, younger Anglos grew up in a taken-for-granted world of ethnic diversity, differing from the old fogies.

On abortion, it would seem that a majority of Houstonians find it “morally wrong,” however, the same number do not want to make it more difficult for a woman to obtain an abortion. This probably makes true the adage some of my pro-choice friends sometimes say:  “Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.”

When it comes to same-sex marriage and homosexuality, Houston is coming around. Of note is that between the 2009 survey and the 2013 survey, there was an visible increase in the number of people accepting that homosexuality is something people cannot change (now at 52%). I’m still trying to figure out that other 48%. At the same time, we are nearing the half-way mark to Houstonians believing same-sex marriage should be given legal status and that homosexuality is “morally acceptable.” Again, what is up with the other 54%, respectively?

This is the best survey about attitudes in Houston–at least one that I trust the most. I will still say that, despite attitudes, all of these hot-button issues have more to do with human and civil rights, thus, I don’t believe laws protecting those rights should be based on surveys. Still, it is a good snapshot on which to base a proactive movement to ensure positive public policy.

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