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Hispanic Children Make Up Largest Share Of Poor Children In U.S.

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HISPANIC CHILDREN POVERTY RATE
A child dances to a live gospel music concert during the annual Good Friday Easter event at the Los Angeles Mission on Good Friday, April 10, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Hispanic children make up the largest share of U.S. children living in poverty for the first time, according to a Pew report. | Getty

The largest group of poor children isn’t white for the first time in U.S. history, according to a Pew report released Wednesday.

There were 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty in 2010, that’s 37.3 percent of all of the nation’s poor children, compared with 30.5 percent who were white and 26.2 percent who were black, according to the report. The Great Recession, which pushed increasing numbers of American children into poverty, hit Latino families especially hard, the report found.

The unemployment rate among Latinos is currently 11.1 percent, significantly higher than the national rate of 9.1 percent. And the high jobless rate is affecting their kids; twenty-five percent of children in black and Hispanic families had one unemployed or underemployed parent last year, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Hispanic households were also devastated by the foreclosure crisis; almost half of the victims of loan modification scams were Hispanic, African American or Asian, according to a report from the Homeownership Preservation Foundation.

The pain has yet to end. Seventeen percent of Latinos lost their home or were at risk of losing it in June 2010, according to a CNN Money analysis of Center for Responsible Lending Data. That’s compared to 11 percent of African American homeowners and 7 percent of white homeowners, according to CNN Money.

The foreclosure and jobs crisis exacerbated Hispanic child poverty rates, according to the Pew report. An additional 1.6 million Latino children were pushed into poverty between 2007 and 2010, a boost of 36.3 percent. By comparison, the ranks of white children living in poverty swelled by 17.6 percent, while the number of black children living in poverty grew by 11.7 percent.

In addition to economic woes, high birth rates among Hispanics living in the U.S. may also explain why Hispanic children make up the largest share of children living in poverty, the Pew report found. Hispanic children make up 23.1 percent of the nation’s children, due mostly to their high birther rates, according to the Pew report.

The rise in Hispanic children living in poverty is part of a larger trend of a rise in child poverty since the recession. One in four U.S. children under six are living in poverty, according to the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. And that rise isn't limited to pockets of the country. Child poverty rose in 38 states in the last decade, a report released last month by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found.

The boost in child poverty is indicative of the rise in poverty in the nation as a whole. The U.S. poverty rate increased last year to 15.1 percent, according to Census data released earlier this month. The ranks of the nation’s poor swelled to 46.2 million, the most since the agency began keeping track.

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