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Nine Ways the Economy is Affecting Young Latinos

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You don't have to have an MBA from Harvard or Wharton to know that the economy is hurting and has been for a while. The terrible effects of the Great Recession, unemployment, benefit cuts, home foreclosures, and more, have been widespread. According to a recent report produced by Dēmos and Young Invincibles entitled "The State of Young America," Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are suffering disproportionately compared to the rest of the population, and among young Americans, Latinos and African Americans suffer worse still.

Some key facts about Latino economic hardship from the report:
  1. 78 percent of young Latinos believe that it has become harder or much harder to make ends meet since the financial crisis began four years ago, as compared to 69 percent of non-Latino whites and 66 percent of African Americans
  2. When asked whether workers were currently within their chosen field, 53 percent of Latinos said they were waiting for something better, compared to 66 percent of African Americans and 40 percent of non-Latino whites
  3. 51 percent of young Latinos are part of a union, or open to joining one if possible, compared to 56 percent of African Americans and 37 percent of non-Latino whites
  4. Over the past four years, 64 percent of African Americans have experienced earning increases compared to 54 percent of non-Latino whites and 41 percent of Latinos
  5. Latinos and African Americans are much more likely to have incomes of less than $30,000 (67 percent and 69 percent respectively); 55 percent of non-Latino whites earn less than $30,000.
  6. Young Latinos are more likely to delay getting married (26 percent), moving out on their own (43 percent), purchasing a home (47 percent), and starting a family (33 percent) than non-Latino whites (22 percent, 28 percent, 44 percent, and 25 percent respectively). African Americans have been hit hardest of all, with 31 percent delaying getting married, 38 percent delaying moving out on their own, 56 percent delaying buying a home, and 39 percent delaying starting a family
  7. Across the board, those polled agreed that education and training are the keys to success in the economy, but apprehension about how to obtain those things was highest among African Americans, at 44 percent, and Latinos, at 32 percent, with only 19 percent of non-Latino whites sharing that uneasiness.
  8. Latinos are the least likely to be in debt for amounts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, at 31 percent--compared to 38 percent of non-Latino whites and 35 percent of African Americans. I guess that's the good news for Latinos
Overall, this indicates two important trends. The first is nothing new: economic disparities typically follow ethnic and racial lines. The second trend points to a growing anxiety among minorities. Read the list again. For more than three fourths of Latinos, making ends meet is a struggle; more than a third of the employed Latinos are discontent with the jobs they have; and less than 60 percent of Latinos have seen wage increases in four years! More and more young people are delaying taking those big life steps, like starting a family, buying a home, which will have far reaching impacts on the future of this country.

Observant readers might be asking themselves why the headline mentions nine facts, but only 8 are listed. Well, here's one more fun fact, and perhaps the most important: youth unemployment is nearly double the national average. If that fact upsets you, then you should make sure your senators and representatives know that at the polls come November.

Source: The data in this post is taken from polls conducted by Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research & Consulting, and published in "The State of Young America" on November 2, 2011, authored by Robert Hiltonsmith and Catherine Ruetschlin from Dēmos and Aaron Smith, Jennifer Mishory and Rory O'Sullivan of Young Invincibles.