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Professors send surveys to study racial attitudes in Olmsted County

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Luther College professors are sending surveys to 2,500 randomly selected people in Olmsted County.

Sociology professors Charlotte Kunkel and Ronald Ferguson are examining where people in the Rochester area stand on issues like race and immigration, Rochester's Diversity Council says.

A similar survey was done in 1990 to address racial problems in the area. Then in 2006, Kunkel followed up with another to see how racial attitudes had changed over the years, the Post Bulletin reports.

According to that report, people said they valued diversity. But when white residents were asked about black residents, they had more negative responses. It also said that most white residents did not interact with people of a different race

The report also looked at people's views on immigration. It suggested that people were not progressive in their attitudes towards immigration, and that those attitudes were viewed as socially acceptable.

The 2006 survey only had a 15 percent response rate, and 94 percent of the responses were from white residents.

This time around, there's a reward to encourage more people to participate. Anyone who fills out and returns the survey will get a $3 Dunn Bros voucher, the Diversity Council says.

Kunkel also told KAAL they'll also make an effort to get more information from people of other races.

According to the council, the professors plan to release the results to the public in May.

A 2014 U.S. Census Bureau report says 85.7 percent of Olmsted County's residents are white, 6.2 percent are Asian, 5.7 are black or African American and 4.5 percent are Hispanic or Latino.

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