Trust in People Among Hispanic Americans


  • Charles N. Weaver

    1. St. Mary's University
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    • 1Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Charles N. Weaver, Emil C. E. Jurica Distinguished Professor of Quantitative Management, Department of Finance and Quantitative Management, Bill Greehey School of Business, St. Mary's University, One Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, TX 78228-8607.


There is a dearth of reliable information about the attitudes of the largest minority, Hispanic Americans. The attitudes that were reliably examined were practically identical to the larger population of non-Hispanic Whites, at least for those who speak English very well. This study of English-speaking Hispanic Americans (n=971) and non-Hispanic White respondents (n=16,202) to 18 recent nationwide public-opinion surveys produced an anomalous result. On a generalized attitude toward human nature widely used to reflect trust in people, misanthropy, and social capital, Hispanic Americans of both sexes were significantly less likely to say they believe people can be trusted, try to be fair, and try to be helpful. These significant differences existed across many control variables. Doubt was cast on the possibility that the differences were explained by economic status, feelings of being discriminated against, or acculturation.