The Mexican-American Population
The Chicano population is more heterogeneous in social and economic composition than any other immigrant minority group in the United States ( Grebler et al. 1970; Moore 1976; Peñalosa 1970a). Delineating this heterogeneity and explaining its sources are the keys to understanding the present and future status of population of Mexican ancestry. In the following pages the Chicano population will be characterized in demographic and socioeconomic terms, and the sociopolitical and institutional factors will be identified that produced the changes within this population. The basic concern of this chapter is the rural and nonmetro population of Mexican origin or descent, but due attention is given to the urban and metro Chicano population, as appropriate, to clarify the significance of the current residential and socioeconomic configuration of this population.
Although about four-fifths of the Mexican-American 1 population resided in metro areas in 1978 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, hereafter CPR, series P-20, no. 328), studying the nonmetro population is justified for two important reasons. First, relatively little is known about nonmetro ethnic minorities, especially those experiencing rapid social changes. Chicanos are one of the fastest growing minorities due in part to high fertility rates and to the continued flow of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants ( Durant and Knowlton 1978).____________________
This research was supported in part by funds granted to the Center for Demography and Ecology (HD-05876) and by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the University of Wisconsin. I wish to thank Ms. Mary Miron for technical assistance and Mr. Steve Garcia for computational assistance. Thanks are also due to Peter Morrison for valuable comments and suggestions, and to Linda Clark for patience in typing several drafts.