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La Raza Report Put Latino Children In Crisis

Washington, DC—Targeted approaches to stem the crises Latino children face are needed to protect the nation’s future according to an online database and report released by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, and coauthored by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB). The data book, America's Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends, highlights the urgent need for policies that will improve the prospects of the 16 million Latino children in the U.S., 59% of whom live in low-income or poor families. Nearly every key factor for child well-being in the report—including housing, health insurance, and high school completion—shows that low-income Latino and Black children are at great risk of experiencing poor outcomes, which will significantly impact their potential to become successful adults.

“Latinos have strong family values and a solid work ethic, but Latino parents still struggle to keep their children healthy, safe, and educated because the majority live in families that are barely scraping by financially,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Our ability to help strengthen Latino families and give their children an opportunity to advance is essential to our nation’s future.”

America's Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends provides analyses of data gathered between 2000 and 2008 and based on 25 factors such as demographics, citizenship, family structure, access to health care, education, and other indicators of Latino child well-being as compared to that of Black and White children.

The Latino population has many strengths, including cohesive families and communities, a youthful population, a commitment to the health and welfare of their children, and a strong work ethic. Yet, there is great reason for concern about Latino children, 92% of whom are U.S. citizens. At the national level, they have low rates of on-time high school graduation (55%), a high percentage that lack health insurance (19%), and a disproportionately high risk for incarceration (one-in-six lifetime risk for Latino males) and obesity (41% for Latino and Black children). If current trends continue, it is projected that 44% of all U.S. children living in poverty in 2030 will be Latino.

The authors found that some challenges faced by Latino children varied based on generation, region, and state; key examples include:

  • In 2008, California had over one million Latino children living in linguistically isolated households, more than any other state. States in the Southeast—with the exception of Florida—had the highest proportion of children living in such households. In Alabama, nearly half of all Latino children (47%) were linguistically isolated.
  • Nationwide, about 48% of third-and-higher-generation Latino youth lived in single-parent families compared with 28% of first- and second-generation Latino children.
  • States with sizable Latino populations, including California, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey, had the highest shares (more than 60%) of Latino youth living in unaffordable housing in 2008.
  • Latinas have the highest teen pregnancy rate—exceeding 200 pregnancies per 1,000 teens—in several new-gateway states in the South, including Alabama, Delaware, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
  • Among states with large Latino populations, Washington had the highest share of Latino youth who were overweight or obese (57%), followed by Pennsylvania (54%), and Wisconsin (52%). North Carolina had the lowest rate (28%).

“If we do not tackle these challenges with targeted and comprehensive initiatives, then our country is in trouble. It is imperative that we act now to improve the prospects for Latino children,” said Murguía.

NCLR has long called on Congress to approve legislation to help Latino families secure greater financial stability by providing job training and access to better-paying jobs, supporting affordable homeownership as a means to financial stability and accruing assets for the next generation, and building savings for retirement and college needs. With Latino unemployment rates at 12.6% in February and an estimated 1.3 million Latino families projected to lose their homes to foreclosure between 2009 and 2012, many more Latino children may be put in a financially precarious living situation.

“We are greatly concerned that the current, unacceptably high rates of Hispanic unemployment and home foreclosures have put an unbearable strain on young Latinos. The numbers show how hard the future will be for our nation if we ignore the circumstances of Latino children today,” concluded Murguía.

The database and report, available online at www.nclr.org/latinochildwellbeing, were developed with the support of the Atlantic Philanthropies, Wellspring, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information, please visit www.nclr.org | www.facebook.com/nationalcounciloflaraza | www.myspace.com/nclr2008 | http://twitter.com/nclr.

###

 Contact:

Paco Fabián

(202) 785-1670


 



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