LatinaLista — Today, the Christian-based group Bread for the World released a new analysis of hunger and poverty among Latinos in the United States. The news is sobering.
According to the analysis of 2008 data, Latino families are more than one and a half times to be “food insecure” as the overall population. In fact, while only 16.4 percent of the general population of 49.1 million people go hungry, 29.4 percent of the 13.2 million Latinos go hungry.
These are statistics that are not only worsening but shine a light on the dismal economic state of almost a quarter of the Latino population.
It stands to reason if more Latinos are going hungry, more are living in poverty. The analysis of 2009 data shows that 25.3 percent of the Latino population is classified as being impoverished. Within that statistic is the unflattering revelation of Latino children:
Latino children, who are poor, constitute 33 percent of the 5.6 million Latino children under the age of 18. Whereas in the general population of children under 18 which numbers 15.5 million, 21 percent are comprised of children in poverty.
From this analysis, we see that hunger is a consequence of not having a good job and making enough money to sustain a family which can be a result of not finishing high school and even just having a GED.
Though this snapshot only applies to a portion of the Latino audience, it’s a portion whose numbers are growing and must be helped with educational and social service programs.
As it is, the analysis reveals that many Latino households, comprised of immigrant parents, don’t take advantage of these programs even when they are eligible:
Federal law currently subjects adult legal immigrants to a five-year waiting period before they can participate in SNAP/food stamps. The waiting period does not apply to child immigrants or to citizen children of immigrant parents. However, the adult waiting period and confusion over eligibility rules have a negative impact on the participation rate of eligible Latinos.
So while Latinos have a higher likelihood of participating in WIC (the Women, Infants and Nutrition Program) and school meal programs, they are less likely to participate in SNAP/food stamps.
Hunger rates among Latinos need to be improved upon so that education, health and economic means can be addressed and elevate the Latino community to where they should and need to be as they increasingly assume the mantle of being the new majority in the United States.