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?


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Photo from ElvertBarnes via flickr.


Debra Holliday
Debra Holliday6 years ago

I disagree that it's only Latinos that are hardest hit! My family (we're Irish-German) were hit very hard, and I know people from other countries that are in dyer straights -- Russians, Hindi, Chinese. It's just that the Mexicans are the loudest squeeky wheel right now. If they would tell their illegal friends to go home, then there would be plenty of jobs for all of the citizens regardless of race or ethnic origins.

Deanna J.
Deanna J6 years ago

...Obviously the people who were the worst off before a massive economic @#$%!^#$% were the ones that got hit the hardest.

Thanks for telling the middle class, though, Care2. This is probably news to them, considering they didn't have to think about it much. I doubt any of the upper crust read this, though... Too bad, they could use a little reality check, to see how the majority lives.

Winn Adams
Winn A6 years ago


Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

It said they did a phone survey so I’m assuming they did this by calling those with Hispanic names; which makes one wonder how many are out of work because they don’t have a green card, or don’t speak English. These two reasons could skew statistics for any group of people with iffy immigrant status or language problems.

I watched that program Undercover Boss last night because it had the President of Kendall/Jackson Winery on. He has Mexican workers in various jobs, one who had worked for KJ for 5 years and still did, did not speak English. The woman supervising him had a hell of a time. The President of KJ blame the problem on KJ and was going to spend $50K so that the non-English speaking workers AND their supervisors could learn English and Spanish. It seems to me if you want to have a job in this country it is your responsibility to learn English, no matter where you are from.

Mel M.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Sandi C.
Sandi C6 years ago


Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Ian Fletcher
Ian Fletcher6 years ago

During this crisis, since 2008, some are still coming to Barcelona. Many more though, have returned to Ecuador, Colombia, Peru etc. So there has been a net outflux of Hispanic immigration here.

Bee Hive
Fiona O6 years ago

I now live in a southwestern that was part of Mexico before the War with Mexico. Manifest Destiny and it consequences are a very bad mark against the U S. Mexico has a terrible history of an incredible gulf between the rich and the poor. That gulf might be causing too much acceptance in some Mexican Americas, who have never known anything else anywhere.

Savitri U.
Luna D6 years ago

It's interesting that no one has commented on the stark difference in poverty rates among whites vs. people of color. All the angst and chest-pounding about illegals seems kind of like a smokescreen to me.