American-Hungarian or Hungarian-American? The choice of home country and national identity among Hungarians resettling in the U.S.

After analyzing the responses to the American-Hungarian or Hungarian-American survey, in this report we are looking to objectively discover which factors studied in the questionnaire determine which country respondents consider to be their home country (Which country do you consider your home country?) and national identity (Which statement would you feel most comfortable making?). The key being objectivity, because rather than relying on subjective evaluation, we rely on complex statistical analysis to identify those factors that collectively are most likely to explain how respondents arrive at determining their home country and national identity.

To touch on some technical details, we used statistical modeling that allowed us to narrow down and identify those factors – from a myriad of survey response options – that when combined shed the best light on why respondents would call one country home over the other and call themselves American vs. Hungarian.

Drivers of changing home country

It is worth noting that as previously reported, almost half (42%) of the total sample selected the U.S. as their home country. Therefore when analyzing various factors, these point to that result as well.

The chart below lists the 10 factors that collectively impact the different responses given to the “home country” question among the total sample. After each bar the percentage shows the strength of the impact each factor has on choice of “home country”. The higher the shown percentage after each response option, the bigger the impact it had on “home country”. (Where percentages are shown in white on a black background, the opposite of the statement is the driver.

home total sample

Let us look at these drivers of home country in detail, as they relate to the total sample:

  1. Response to national identity: Hungarian and only Hungarian or American and only American.
    • It may not be surprising that national identity was the biggest driver of changes to home country.
  2. Past quality of life in Hungary compared to current quality of life in the U.S.
    • Interestingly, this factor had the second biggest impact on changes to home country. The better someone considers their current quality of life in the U.S. compared to that in Hungary, the more likely it is that the U.S. will be chosen as home. The reverse of this holds true as well, if someone’s life in the U.S. just didn’t work out, they are more likely to choose Hungary. Until now, this conclusion was only drawn from Hungarian-American anecdotes and hearsay. Due to this analysis, there is now data to substantiate this.
  3. The extent to which one keeps informed about news from “back home”
    • Tied for third place is the frequency with which one keeps informed about news from back home, i.e. Hungary. Those who do not care about Hungarian news are more likely to choose the U.S. as home, and the opposite holds true as well.
  4. The fact that I’m from Hungary… makes me feel proud
    • General agreement with this statement is more likely to result in Hungary being called home. There is a reverse effect in play here. At the same time, if someone isn’t proud of being of Hungarian origin at all, they are more likely to choose the U.S. as home.
  5. Filling out the questionnaire in English
    • Based on results already published, the effect of this factor on choice of home country was a given.
  6. What citizenship(s) do you currently hold? – U.S. citizenship
    • This might not be surprising either. If the respondent held U.S. citizenship it had an impact on choosing a home, though to a lesser degree.

magyar-amerikai_3_nagy

While the factors listed below did impact change in home country, their impact is negligible compared to the ones already mentioned:

  • Help received during immigration from Americans who they met in the U.S.
  • Satisfaction with one’s health status
  • Staying on top of U.S. news
  • Importance of Hungarian movies (there is a reverse effect here: the more important Hungarian movies were rated, the more likely Hungary was to be chosen as home)

To sum it all up, all these factors collectively determine which country a respondent views as his or her home county. The more factors are present, the stronger the likelihood.

But what are the drivers that influenced the change of home country among respondents from Hungary the most? Well, filtering out respondents born in the U.S. and excluding the most obvious driver – picking a national identity – as well as assuming that most of the respondents who filled out the questionnaire in Hungarian arrived from Hungary (which holds true), then we can describe the 5 strongest drivers exclusively among Hungarian immigrants:

  1. U.S. citizenship
  2. Quality of past life in Hungary vs. current quality of life in the U.S.
  3. Staying on top of U.S. news
  4. The extent of keeping on top of news from “home” (reverse effect)
  5. The fact that I’m from Hungary… makes me feel proud (reverse effect)

Simply put, if you still have Hungarian blood in your veins and are proud of it; you still just have a Hungarian passport; the U.S. just didn’t work out for you and you still are devouring Hungarian news than there is a high likelihood that you feel like a “fish out of water in America”.

 Drivers of changing national identity

Now let us take a look at all the factors that explain the change in national identity based on responses from the total sample. It is important to note here again, that of the total sample 4% of respondents called themselves Hungarian and solely Hungarian, less than 1% American and solely American and 50% said Hungarian, living in the U.S. and 46% claimed American of Hungarian origin.

The chart below shows the 8 factors again that collectively influence why responses to national identity vary. The more factors are present, the bigger their effect on change. As with the analysis before, we have marked the percentages for each factor. These mark the strength they hold on national identity. (In the three cases where percentages are shown in white on a black background, again the opposite of the statement is the driver.

identity

Let us take a look at the drivers explaining changing national identity in detail:

  • Country the respondents considers home
    • The strongest driver of national identity – not surprising, considering the results reviewed above.
  • Arrival year in the United States
    • Interestingly, the number of years spent in the U.S. was not a driving factor for choosing a home country, but when choosing a national identity, it turned out to be the second most impactful factor. The longer the respondent has spent in the U.S., the more likely they were to identify as American. This is an important result of the survey, based exclusively on the data. Until now, we only had a hunch, but now there is proof that the number of years spent in the United States has a profound effect on the national identity of Hungarian immigrants.
  • Importance of Hungarian folk music
    • At first, it seems surprising that the importance given to Hungarian folk music is the third strongest factor among respondents. The more important they regarded Hungarian folk music, the more likely respondents were to call themselves Hungarian .
      Satisfaction with life in general
      Respondents’ satisfaction with their own life, though to a lesser degree than factors above, had an impact on national identity. The more satisfied they were with their life, the more likely they were to call themselves American. If they were unhappy with their life, they were more likely to say they are Hungarian.
  • Keeping informed about U.S. news
    • The frequency with which respondents kept on top of U.S. news had an impact on the choice of both home country and national identity, close to the same degree.
  • The degree to which they keep in touch with friends and acquaintances
    • If the respondents do not keep in touch with friends and connections from Hungary, reasonably, they are more likely to call themselves American or vice versa.
  • The fact that I am from Hungary… makes me feel indifferent
    • This factor does not come as a surprise and perhaps does not need much explanation
  • Satisfaction with current job
    • This factor does not show a big impact, but is interesting nevertheless. It seems to suggest that if the respondents are not happy with their job in the U.S. (or life in general, as the two are related), than they would be more likely to call themselves Hungarian. If they are happy with their current job, respondents are more likely to call themselves American.

magyar-amerikai_4_nagy

So, let’s see which factors influenced the choice of national identity among respondents from Hungary the most. We again filtered out respondents born in the U.S., excluded the most obvious factor, i.e. choice of home country and again we made the assumption that the majority of participants responding in Hungarians arrived from Hungary (which holds true), then we arrive at the 5 strongest drivers among Hungarian immigrants:

  1. Assigned importance to Hungarian folk dance (opposite effect)
  2. The fact that I’m from Hungary… makes me feel indifferent
  3. Quality of life in the past in Hungary vs. current quality of life in the U.S.
  4. American citizenship
  5. What year did you arrive in the United States?

Again, simply put – and of course exaggerating the data above – if you (for now) are still in the “wandering” phase of resettling in the U.S., and the U.S. didn’t quite work out for you, but Hungarian folk dance is what you “live for”, then you are more likely to “remain a Hungarian in the U.S”.

In summary we can conclude that now for the first time, we were able to objectively measure and determine the factors that, combined, are drivers of choice of home country and national identity of Hungarians in the U.S. (among the survey sample). We no longer have to rely on suspicions, hunches, anecdotes – or accounts from Hungary – to determine how Hungarian Hungarians really are in the New World. We can now finally draw on the accounts of a large number of American-Hungarians, whose objectively analyzed responses help us understand the thinking about home country and Hungarian national identity of resettling Hungarians.

In the next report, we shall approach the results from a completely different angle. With the help of a different statistical method, we were able to identify seven groups (clusters) from within the total sample. We will be introducing these seven modern American-Hungarian tribes, as we from now on will refer to these clusters, so everyone can identify themselves or their friends.

To read further, please click here

A huge THANK YOU goes to the following individuals for their generous help translating this and the remaining parts. We really appreciate their support!

  • Mária Jánossy
  • Viktória Johnson
  • Péter Czipott

http://www.facebook.com/Amerikaimagyarvagymagyaramerikai

 

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