Latinos Hardest Hit, Most Optimistic About Economy
A new report issued by the Pew Research Center found that in a bad economy, Hispanics believe they’ve fared the worst. Of the Latinos surveyed 54% reported that they or someone in their household has been out of work in the past year and two-thirds.
The findings come from a new telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,220 Hispanic adults.
Latinos make up 16% of the population and have lagged behind other Americans on most measures of economic well-being. But analyses of recent data suggest those gaps have widened since 2005. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate among Latinos in December 2011 was 11.0%, up from 6.3% at the start of the Great Recession in December 2007. Over the same sample period the national unemployment rate increased from 5.0% 5o 8.5%.
Similar trends appeared concerning household wealth and poverty. From 2005 to 2009 the media household wealth, measured by looking at all assets minus all debt, among Latinos fell by 66%, compared with a drop of 53% among blacks and 16% among whites. That drop in wealth came with a corresponding spike in poverty rates. Between 2006 and 2010 the poverty rate among Hispanics increased from 20.6% to 26.6%. That’s significantly higher than the rise in poverty rates among whites (8.2% to 9.9%) and among blacks (24.3% to 27.4%).
Despite this news two-thirds of those surveyed said they expect their financial situation to improve over the next year, compared with just over half of the general population.
These numbers are significant for a lot of reasons, but especially because Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States. There are 50 million Latinos in the United States with 48% of those adults born in the United States. When a quarter of that population exists in poverty and persistent racial hostility, what do we think this country will look like in ten years?
Photo from ElvertBarnes via flickr.