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SPN 320 Reading Texts, Reading Life

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Background Information

You may not know a lot about every part of the world you'll be studying this semester.  Here are some sources to get a quick summary of a country's or region's history and culture.

News from the Spanish-speaking world

Depending on your topic, you might need to find out what is happening right now in the country of your text.  Newspapers are a great way to do this.


OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) -- The OECD collects and analyses data and makes recommendations to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.  Use the "Countries" drop down menu.  Many articles about Spanish speaking countries come in a Spanish version.

United Nations Statistics Division -- The UN collects statistics for every nation, with particular focus on health, gender, and economic development indicators.  Put the name of a country in the data search box at the top right and click "go".

UNESCO -- UNESCO is the United Nation's Education, Scientific, and Cultural group.  The webpage is also available in Spanish if you click at the top left.  Search your country under the "Countries" dropdown menu.  Check out the section on Communication and Information.

ITU -- The Telecommunication Development Sector is a specialized branch of the UN working on communication and internet. They collect statistics on key connectivity indicators for 200 countries.

NCES -- The National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. also publishes comparative reports with other nations.  Includes access to the PISA data (Programme for International Student Assessment, conducted by the OECD.)

Pew Research Center Global Attitudes & Trends -- Pew not only does excellent reporting on statistics and public opinion in the US (check out their great research on Hispanics) but they also survey people from all over the world about global issues.  Search your country in the box.

Latinobarometro -- Based in Chile, this company does annual public opinion polls of 18 Latin American countries. In Spanish!

CEPR -- Center for Economic and Policy Research has op-eds as well as reports and data about economic and social issues.

Data about Immigration

The US Census -- This is the best site for US population statistics.  Check out the links under "People" as well as some more targeted information under "Foreign Born".

The Department of Homeland Security -- Since the DHS guards the borders, they also collect and analyse data about immigration.  Check out the Immigration Data & Statistics page for the fullest information about immigrants, refugees, and naturalization.

Pew Research Center -- An American think tank that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends.  The Center comprises a number of relevant projects, including the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Social & Demographic Trends.  Check out the new report on Asian immigrants and this one on unauthorized immigrants (2015).

US Dept. of Labor -- Use the search box at the top to search "Immigration".  Lots of good links to data and summaries.  Check ot this precis on the impact of immigrants on the economy or this table on educational attainment of immigrants.

Center for Immigration Studies - An independent non-partisan group that collects data on immigration.  Their 2011 welfare use study is quoted by many writers on both sides of the immigration issue.

Migration Policy Institute -- An independent, nonpartisan think-tank.  They have a whole section on Immigrant Integration and in 2011 published this report on the economic integration of immigrants.

Cato Institute -- A libertarian think tank, funded by the Koch brothers.  Amongst other issues, the Institute focuses on immigration from an economic standpoint.  Check out the Cato Studies for data and statistics about immigrants use of welfare.

Center for Economic and Policy Research -- The CEPR was founded by two economists to bring together research findings.  Links to reports as well as blogs and op-eds by economists.  Use the search box and type "immigration".

NCES -- The National Center for Education Statistics has lots of data about immigrant or non-English speaking children in the schools.  Remember that the US is included in the PISA data (Programme for International Student Assessment.)

The Urban Institute -- a nonpartisan think tank that conducts social policy research.  One issue they work on is children of immigrants in the schools.  Click here for a 2011 report.

TRAC Immigration -- A project run by Syracuse University to compile and evaluate government information about immigration.  Focuses on border control, immigration benefits (green cards, naturalization, etc.) and the work of the immigration courts.

Law Library of Congress -- The Library produces reports for members of Congress and the public on many issues, including immigration.  There are reports about citizenship pathways from various other countries.