University of Minnesota
Immigration History Research Center

Immigration History Research Center's home page.

Hispanic, Hmong, Russian and Somali Immigrants in the Twin Cities: A Survey by the Wilder Research Center

In early 2000, the Wilder Research Center conducted a survey among four major immigrant groups in the Twin Cities area: Hispanic, Hmong, Russian, and Somali. The study was commissioned by the Saint Paul Pioneer Press as part of its civic journalism initiative, with funding from the Knight-Ridder Foundation. The IHRC has agreed to store the survey data and provide access to the survey results to researchers via this web site.

Report of key findings under the title "Speaking for themselves: A survey of Hispanic, Hmong, Russian, and Somali immigrants in Minneapolis-Saint Paul" is available from Wilder Research Center.

This survey is unusual for several reasons. First, unlike many surveys that gauge people's opinions about immigrants, this one asked immigrants themselves about their own experiences, and in their own language. Second, this survey provides a snapshot of not just one immigrant group but of the four major groups in the Twin Cities area. And third, the random sampling method and large scale of this survey make it possible to study differences among the four groups as well as common themes in their experiences.

This was a random household survey in neighborhoods likely to have large numbers of immigrants, based on school enrollment and census information. Wilder Research Center screened more than 12,000 households to find adults born in other countries. Seventy-four percent of those invited to participate completed the interview, for a total of 1,119 respondents.

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Margin of Error
For results based on the entire sample, there is a 95% probability that the margin of error is no more than plus or minus 3 percentage points. In other words, differences of less than 6 percentage points are inconclusive.

For results based on a specific subgroup of immigrants, such as Hmong, the margin of error rises to plus or minus 6.5 percentage points. In other words, do not draw any conclusions about differences among immigrant groups unless the percentage varies by more than 13 points.

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Download Options
You will need to download the survey data using one of three options listed below. You will then use your own software to view the data and process your own reports. Be sure to review the survey text and file design to make sense of the coded data from the survey.


After downlaoding the zip file, it is recommended that you use SPSS software (version 10.0) to open the SAV file. For more information on SPSS software, visit their web site at:

SPSS format (218KB)

If you have access to Microsoft Excel 2000 software, you can save this spreadsheet on your computer. Click on the link below and either open the file or save it to your computer.

Microsoft Excel 2000 spreadsheet (1,429KB)

If you don't have access to the two specified software packages, you can save this ASCII, tab-delimited file. Just 'right click' over the link below and choose the 'save' option. This will save the data file on your computer. You can then use your own software package to view and process the data. Be sure to review the information about this file.
ASCII, tab-delimited format (291KB)
Feel free to contact the IHRC if you have difficulty downloading these files.

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