National Survey on Discrimination in Mexico, Religious Minorities

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The Secretary of Social Development (SEDESOL) and the National Council to Prevent Discrimination developed the National Survey on Discrimination in Mexico to assess the amount of discrimination in the everyday lives of Mexican citizens. Specifically, SEDESOL wanted to analyze the problem from the perspectives of the general population and from specific vulnerable populations. For this reason, the survey developed seven different questionnaires: a general questionnaire for the general population and six separate questionnaires for targeted vulnerable populations. These targeted vulnerable populations included: a) population of elderly people, b) indigenous population, c) population with non-Catholic religious beliefs, d) female population, e) people with disabilities, and (f) individuals with non-heterosexual preferences, which became a case study due to the difficulty covering that specific targeted population.

This dataset examines the responses of 789 individuals with non-Catholic religious beliefs in Mexico. These religious minorities were asked questions regarding the following: general views on discrimination; whether or not they have experienced discrimination based on their religious beliefs; whether or not Catholics have more privileges in society; what action should be taken to prevent religious discrimination; the role of government in preventing discrimination toward religious minorities; the life opportunities of religious minorities; their views on other vulnerable populations; and whether or not discrimination toward religious minorities has changed over the years. The methodology, questionnaire, and responses in the dataset were translated from Spanish into English.

Data File
Cases: 789
Variables: 407
Weight Variable: FACTOR
Data Collection
Date Collected: November 2004-February 2005
Original Survey (Instrument)
Original Website
Funded By
Secretary of Social Development (SEDESOL)
Collection Procedures
After the Secretary of Social Development (SEDESOL) and the National Council to Prevent Discrimination developed the survey, the field work required a general project coordinator, 10 coordinators for the regional field, 15 supervisors, 50 interviewers, 10 encoders and 20 typists. The general project coordinator communicated with SEDESOL and coordinated the field work. The coordinators in the regional fields selected the personnel, trained them, distributed necessary materials to personnel, and oversaw the daily field progress. Supervisors were responsible for locating the urban and rural locations, as well as verifying the correct application of the questionnaires, both in the household and individuals of different target audiences. There were 50 different interviewers who administered surveys to individuals of the household suitable to answer the given questions. If the respondent could not perform an interview at that time, the interviewer would attempt to schedule another convenient time to conduct the interview. The interviews were collected from urban and rural localities in Mexico, starting in November 2004 and ending in February 2005.

The interviewer chose the specific questionnaire based on whether or not the respondent belonged to a vulnerable population. If not, the interviewer gave the general population survey. If the respondent belonged to one or more vulnerable populations, the interviewer selected the questionnaire that targeted the smaller vulnerable population. For example, a female religious minority would receive the religious minority questionnaire and not the female population questionnaire because there is a lower likelihood that the interviewer would find another religious minority than another female.
Sampling Procedures
The intention was to create a probability sample so that the results generated by the survey would be generalizable to different study populations. Since there were no available sampling frames for specific population groups most exposed to discriminatory actions, they chose to use frames based on geographic and sociodemographic characteristics available from the XII Census of Population and Housing in the year 2000. With these resources, there were various stages of selection that allowed them to cover populations of interest.

The urban population was determined according to the basic geostatistical areas (BGA's), which acted as the primary sampling units. Secondary sampling units (SSU's) were formed by grouping homes identified from the neighborhood blocks recognizable in urban areas. The houses that came from the neighborhood blocks were the tertiary sampling units. This consideration of the various types of sampling units allowed them to randomly choose houses in selection stages. Once the block was randomly selected, they would target four homes.

The rural stratum included towns with less than 2,500 inhabitants in areas geographically distinct from urban populations according the basic geostatistical areas. Once these sites were chosen, they randomly selected seven houses in the given area.

From the information in the available census, each primary sampling unit included the proportion of non-Catholics and other vulnerable targeted groups in the area, which allowed a comparison with the national proportion. These areas were classified into one of two layers according to whether the proportion corresponding to the UPM was higher or lower than the national proportion corresponding to different types of specific population of interest. Once inside the household, the selection of the person to interview was based on the ranking of individual type interview, meaning that if the person belonged to a smaller population, it was given higher priority. Thus, if a household had two people who could be interviewed, a person with a disability and a woman, the interviewer would select the person with the disability whenever the probability of finding a person with this feature was less than that of finding a woman.

The sample sizes of the vulnerable populations helped to obtain national estimates at a confidence level of 90 percent, with varying relative errors between 0.042 and 0.167, equivalent to absolute errors of four dots.

For more information regarding the methodology and the questionnaire for this survey, click here (Please Note: the website and downloadable resources are in Spanish).
Principal Investigators
Secretary of Social Development (SEDESOL), National Council to Prevent Discrimination