1 in 3 Americans Think Most Hispanics Are Undocumented

A new poll released by the National Hispanic Media Coalition and Latino Decisions found that more than 30 percent of non-Hispanics believe that the majority (more than half) of Hispanics are undocmented. The truth? Around 18 percent of Hispanics in the U.S. are undocumented, while only 37 percent of U.S. Hispanics are actually immigrants, according to findings by NBC Latino

“There is widespread exposure to negative stereotypes of Latinos in the media, and exposure to these images and stereotypes does have a causal effect on people’s perceptions,” political scientist Matt Barreto, principal at Latino Decisions, explained to NBC Latino.

While many non-Latinos hold positive views of Hispanics, other findings show that many are seen in a negative light. A portion of those polled think Latinos are family-oriented (90 percent), hardworking (81 percent) and honest (76 percent). However, one out of two non-Latinos think “welfare recipient” describes Latinos very or somewhat well (51 percent), as well as “less educated” (50 percent), and “refuse to learn English” (44 percent).

“The media is doing a disservice with coverage that is misleading the public about Latinos who live in the U.S.,” said National Hispanic Media Coalition president and CEO Alex Nogales. “It is producing attitudes among non-Latinos that contribute to hate speech and hate crimes. We must demand that the media do a better job with its coverage."

What do you think of the findings? Do they surprise you?