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Data shows just how much the odds are stacked against Latino youth

LatinaLista — It used to be that the term “future” encapsulated not hopes and wishes but expectations that life would be better for ourselves, our nation, but most of all, for the children — all children.

Yet, a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2017 Race for Results, reveals formidable challenges face Latino, African American and Native American children that impact the kinds of future that awaits them versus white and Asian American children.

For the first time in their history of doing the report, the Annie E. Casey Foundation included a child’s racial background and immigrant status to better gauge how each group was faring on the path to opportunity. It’s an important analysis since of the 74 million children under the age of 18, who live in the United States, 25 percent are Latino. Fifty-one percent are white.

Examining data from 2013-2015, the report found that “Asian and Pacific Islander and white children are generally doing better in almost every area of child well-being than their African-American, Latino and American Indian peers.”

Drilling even deeper, the data reveals over half of children living in immigrant families are Latino. Distinct differences exist between immigrant children and native-born Latinos. Among those differences are:


66% of U.S.-born Latino children live with a householder who has at least a high school diploma vs. 70% of immigrant children who live with a high school graduate.

55% of U.S.-born Latino children, ages 3-5, are enrolled in school versus 59% of children in immigrant families.

22% of US-born Latino adults, ages 25 to 29, completed an Associates Degree or higher versus 37% of immigrant youth.

66% of US-born Latino youth live in a two-parent household versus 80% of children in immigrant families.

38% of US-born Latino youth live above 200% of poverty; 47% of children in immigrant families, with children whose origins are from Colombia, Cuba and Spain the most likely to live in families with incomes at or above 200 percent of poverty.

53% of US-born Latino youth live in low-poverty areas, whereas 62% of children in immigrant families call these areas home.


These disparities between the two groups are only exacerbated when looking at the overall data that shows:

  • American Indian, Latina and African-American girls are less likely to delay childbearing than their white and Asian and Pacific Islander peers.
  • African-American, Latino and American Indian students have the lowest rates of fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math proficiency.
  • Math proficiency among eighth graders declined across the board between 2013 and 2015. African-American, American Indian and Latino children saw the largest declines.

 It’s clear that Latino youth, though making some strides, are not advancing to their fullest potential.

Is it lack of academic expectations by parents? Educators?

Is it lack of access to opportunities?

Is it low self-esteem? Low self-accounability?

Is it the impact of anti-immigrant rhetoric? 


Whatever the reason, Latino youth need help to believe in themselves and in their dreams — but first, they have to believe they have a future.



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