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Having outlined a conceptual framework for understanding variation in drinking water perception, we discuss descriptive findings on the relationship between race/ethnicity, nativity status and perceived water quality (full descriptive statistics for all independent variables and controls are provided in Appendix 1, available with the online version of this paper). More than 90% of the entire sample perceive their drinking water to be safe for drinking and cooking. As Table 1 shows, however, trust of tap water is highly variable across nativity, region of origin and racial-ethnic lines.

Table 1.

Perceived tap water safety by nativity and race/ethnicity.

NativityPerception of safety
Foreign-born 
 Latin American countries 70.9% 
 Other world regions 86.4% 
 All 81.2% 
Native-born 
 Hispanic (of any race) 85.3% 
 Black 89.4% 
 Non-Hispanic White 94.8% 
 Other 90.8% 
 All 93.5% 
NativityPerception of safety
Foreign-born 
 Latin American countries 70.9% 
 Other world regions 86.4% 
 All 81.2% 
Native-born 
 Hispanic (of any race) 85.3% 
 Black 89.4% 
 Non-Hispanic White 94.8% 
 Other 90.8% 
 All 93.5% 

Source: American Housing Survey (2013); tabulated by authors.

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