While U.S.-born Latinos and Latino immigrants are keenly aware of the discrimination and inequities they face, many are optimistic about social progress in the United States, a report from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation finds.
Developed in partnership with Univision and the Denver Post, the report, The State of the Latino Family: A National Survey of Latinos in the United States (90 pages, PDF), surveyed a thousand Latinos — ranging from undocumented immigrants to fourth-or-more-generation Americans — and found that respondents were more likely to say that access to health care, economic opportunity, and public education had improved over the last five years. At the same time, U.S.-born Latinos and those with higher educational attainment and incomes were more likely than recent immigrants to express skepticism and disappointment with persistent inequality and/or to view opportunity as diminishing.
According to the report, jobs and the economy (23 percent) were most frequently cited as the issue that concerned survey respondents most — although undocumented immigrants, along with those at the highest income range, were the most optimistic about their financial future — followed by immigration and deportation issues (18 percent) and violence and crime (12 percent). Among parents with young children, only 43 percent said they had personal savings, 49 percent indicated that child care made their work situation difficult, and 58 percent feared losing their jobs in the next year. The survey also found that Latina women were especially vulnerable to financial instability; while 73 percent of the men surveyed said they could take on a second job or more work hours were they to face a loss of income, only 61 percent of women said they could, while more than half said they could not draw from personal savings (54 percent) or secure a loan from a bank (53 percent) or from family or friends (56 percent).
"With Latino children being the fastest growing demographic in the nation, their well-being is critical to America's future," said WKKF president and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron. "We hope the polling data is used to intensify efforts by the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to address root causes of the education, health, housing, and wealth inequities for people of color, especially children. This includes confronting racial biases, conscious and unconscious, that impact their families and communities."