Monday, April 26, 2010

Survey Shows Guam Sees Buildup as Good for Economy, Bad for Culture

Good for economy, bad for local culture .
Monday, 26 April 2010 03:57 by Tiffany Sukola
Marianas Variety News Staff

ALTHOUGH concerns have been raised over the long-term social, economic and environmental effects of the impending military buildup, a recent study done by University of Guam students shows that a majority of the general population is in favor of the plan to relocate nearly 8,000 Marines and their dependents from Okinawa to Guam.

University assistant professor Amy Owen and her students recently completed a research project on the perception of local residents regarding the U.S. buildup and related immigration issues. According to their data, a majority of island residents polled believe the buildup will be good for Guam’s economy.

Out of 403 poll-takers, 53 percent view the buildup as positive while 41 percent said otherwise. According to the survey, 71 percent of responders perceive the buildup as good for the economy while 74 percent perceive the buildup as bad for culture.

Owen, who specializes in cultural geography, said the goal of the study was to objectively gather an accurate representation of local views regarding the buildup and related immigration issues.

“Our research also shows that Guam’s culture, though very diverse, is unified and very tolerant of other ethnicities,” said Owen. “There is remarkable uniformity across ethnicities in viewpoints and opinions on a variety of topics as they relate to the buildup.”

Owen said the research indicated that the concern of local residents regarding immigrants is not ethnic; rather it is economic at base. Local residents are concerned that non-residents will take resources like jobs and healthcare.

Of the 403 respondents, Owen said 58 percent identified themselves as Chamorro, 28 percent as Filipino, six percent as other Pacific Islander, four percent as Asian and another 4 percent as Caucasian.

Out of the 403 respondents, 78 percent identified themselves as military or military families.

According to the data, middle age respondents were the most positive about the buildup while younger and older poll-takers viewed the buildup less positively.

Youth are concerned about jobs, land takings and cultural and identity loss according to the study.
Owen said the research indicated that higher incomes and lowest incomes viewed the buildup most positively while middle income groups perceived the military buildup least positive.

The research project, which was submitted to journal Asia Pacific Viewpoint earlier this year, will be officially presented later this week.

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