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Stereotypes of U.S. Immigrants from Four Global Regions


  • Direct correspondence to Jeff Timberlake, Department of Sociology, University of Cincinnati, PO Box 210378, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0378 〈〉. Timberlake will share data and coding for replication purposes upon request. This research was supported by funding from the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati. The authors thank Eric Rademacher and the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati for data and codebooks, Amy Baumann Grau and Junia Howell for research assistance, and Vanesa Estrada, Maria Krysan, Jennifer Malat, and the anonymous Social Science Quarterly reviewers for helpful comments.



This study explores variation in stereotypes of U.S. immigrants from Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.


We exploit a split-ballot design in two waves of the Ohio Poll to test hypotheses about effects of contextual and respondent-level characteristics on immigrant stereotypes.


Respondents generally rated Asian immigrants most positively and Latin American immigrants most negatively, with European and Middle Eastern immigrants occupying an intermediate position. Findings from regression analyses indicate little direct effect of county-level percent foreign born or media consumption. The strongest effects observed were income on stereotypes of Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants and concerns about the problem of unauthorized immigration on stereotypes of Latin American and Middle Eastern immigrants.


Our findings suggest that views about the characteristics of certain groups of immigrants are strongly linked to national-level debates about unauthorized immigration.