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Connecticut’s Latino Middle Class — Who Are They?

Connecticut’s Latino Middle Class — Who Are They?

CTLatinoNews.com

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East of the railroad tracks in West Hartford, in a multicultural shopping plaza stands a former McDonald’s restaurant with a banner hanging outside that reads “Cora Cora Restaurant Peruvian Cuisine.” Like many Latino-owned businesses, Cora Cora signals that here there are numerous families who have risen into the ranks of the middle class.

This restaurant is different from many others in this well-heeled suburb, in that the clientele is almost entirely Latino. Inside, paying $16-$22 for an entree, $100+ per dinner per family, prosperous, well-fed patrons come through by the hundreds.

If the Latino middle class is anywhere, it’s here, but you’d never guess it from the outside.

All over the state, the Latino middle class is growing while at the same time largely hiding in plain sight.

“We have a growing stake in the economy and the electorate in Connecticut,” said Catherine Medina, outgoing director of the University of Connecticut’s Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies Project. “In 2012, the purchasing power of Latinos in Connecticut was $13.4 billion, which is an increase of 481 percent since 1990.” Medina also adds, “While the Latino population is very large, it is in many ways very invisible.”

One reason that this is especially true of the middle class is that those who move out of the cities and into the suburbs usually aren’t represented by Latinos members of the state Legislature, although that appears to be changing.

CTLatinoNews interviewed people from around Connecticut, asking them where they think the Latino middle class lives, and while some responses yielded clues, many revealed why the answer is so hard to pin down. One big reason for this is…

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