Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Economy > New Pew Hispanic Study Illustrates Today’s Economic Gains by Latino immigrants are Short-lived for Future Generations

New Pew Hispanic Study Illustrates Today’s Economic Gains by Latino immigrants are Short-lived for Future Generations

LatinaLista — Have you heard?
There’s another Latino migration happening across the country.
The Pew Hispanic Center released their latest report today — 1995 — 2005: Foreign-Born Latinos Make Progress on Wages.
It seems Latino immigrants are moving from low-wage jobs to being middle-wage earners.
Unfortunately, the study also underscores the sad wage earning status of native born Latinos and reflects the impact of what the high dropout rate is having and will have on the future of this nation’s economy.

The Pew Hispanic study reported that

Employment of foreign-born Hispanics increased 83% between 1995 and 2005. But employment growth was much faster in the middle of the wage distribution, ranging from an increase of 104% for Latinos in the low-middle group to an increase of 112% for those in the high-middle group. Growth in Latino employment in the lowest wage class (57%) was well below average.

The study attributed this change in wage-earning status to the fact that newly arrived immigrants were older, better educated and found work in construction, rather than agriculture.
It’s a finding that is supported by the fact that there was a Construction Workers Day held on April 15, 2007 and there now exists a bilingual magazine dedicated to the Latino construction workforce.

El Constructor Latino reports that:

The number of construction workers who identified themselves as Hispanic quadrupled from 1980-2000.
In 2000 there were 1.4 million Hispanic construction workers in the United States. 70% of those workers were born outside of the U.S. and their first language is Spanish.
Of the total number of Hispanic construction workers in the U.S., nearly half – 47% live in the South.
The proportion of Hispanic ownership in construction exceeded Hispanic ownership of
businesses overall. (CPWR 2002)
Construction is second only to agriculture as the industry having the highest proportion of Latino workers. (National Safety Council)

As these Latino immigrant workers migrate up the wage-earning ladder, the Pew Study found that the native born Latino worker really didn’t go anywhere.
In fact, almost 50% of native-born Latinos fell below the middle of the wage distribution in 2005 — 26% were low-wage earners and 23% were low-middle earners.
Only 12% of the native-born Latino workforce was considered in the high-wage category and 22% among middle-wage earners.
What can we draw from this?
Maybe some hard questions need to be asked: Why aren’t more native-born Latinos going after jobs in the construction industry?
Could it be as basic as the work being too hot and dangerous?
Maybe an easier question to answer would be: Why are 50% of native-born Latinos concentrated in the low to low-middle wage earning categories?
That answer is obvious. Though there are always extenuating circumstances that feed off of each other in a cyclical pattern, the bottom line has to be education.
These native-born Latinos are not receiving the kind of message they need about staying in school. They’re not receiving the kind of instruction that enables them to be fully literate, responsible and ambitious citizens.
They’re living in conditions that are not conducive to dreaming of a better future, but rather they see the future only as a continuation of their current lifestyle.
It is unacceptable that 50% of the Latino population is considered “poor.”
This study may be all about the Latino immigrant workers’ success in this country but if the next generation falls behind the gains of the first generation, then this success is not just short-lived but an illusion as to what it really means for the future of the Latino community.

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  • El Gato
    August 22, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Gracias para este informe, Marisa. He estado oyendo tales noticias en las semanas recienes, y su énfasis en la educación es particularmente apropiado.
    Education really is the key.
    This emphasizes for us in the Latino community, how important it is for us to support each other, to help build and nurture networks for Latinos to support Latino businesses, Latino organizations, Latino outreach and so forth. Especially in the face of discrimination, we have to stick together.
    I’ve found prospects to be overall brighter for us in Southwestern states where we’ve been for centuries before the Mexican War, in part because we’re more established there and soon becoming a majority here. We therefore have more political and social power and are thus better able to provide our people with the necessary resources to for example help Latino enterprises thrive. Not to mention standing up to discrimination here.
    Also, in SW states (and in Florida for different reasons), we and our culture have a lot of protection stretching all the way back to the Mexican War agreements. El español es igual como el inglés para todas cosas, language equality in every respect. So that courts, offices, schools and universities, graduate schools, hospitals, libraries, government departments and so forth operate easily in both languages.
    That’s important not only for heritage reasons and unification of our people, but education– the double immersion schools that teach in español as well as English are consistently much better than the garden-variety English-only public schools, in part because Anglos hate the idea of paying taxes to educate Latino children, so these schools are underfunded. The double immersion schools teach all subjects better, in both languages, and they provide a much better grasp of written as well as spoken español which is an essential requirement for employers these days.
    Our children also have a better understanding of subjects like science, math and history when taught side-by-side in español as well as English, at the elementary and high school as well as university levels– which has indeed been the tradition in this region since the Mexican War. A lot of educators have studied this and found it increases mental flexibility to learn these subjects partly en español, and it fits in better with the multicultural and multilingual fabric this region’s had since 1848.
    I’ve also been recommending home-schooling as another antidote to the awful US public schools, which are distracting, violent, unhealthy, and just plain terrible at teaching. Home-schooling allows our kids a more structured curriculum and healthier peer interactions, as Anglo and African-American parents have already figured out. For our kids, it allows us to impart healthier habits, and to set up our own double immersion curricula enseñando parcialmente en español (many very high-quality textbooks available from Mexico and Chile for example).
    This is important for us in our homeland states in the Southwest for example, but even more so outside of our traditional homelands here, since Latinos in states such as Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas, South Carolina and Minnesota face so much discrimination from types like the Minutemen, who have little interest in providing us with any education at all. (I honestly wish more Latinos in those states would move to Southwest states like California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas where we have more solidarity and can help them more.)
    Si bien hay razones de tener preocupaciones, también hay razones de quedarnos muy optimisticos sobre nuestro futuro en los Estados Unidos, especialmente en el Suroeste y, posiblemente después de aproximadamente, en Florida. En estos lugares nos estamos convertiendo en la mayoría, y estamos mejorando nuestras vidas juntas. La cosa mas importante es seguir apoyando nuestras comunidades, mantener la solidaridad, y sugeriendo ideas productivas.

  • Tanginika
    August 22, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Saludos comadre: You have quite a fine publication here. Congratulations! Keep up the good work. Un abrazo. Tangie

  • Cuban Coffee Girl
    August 23, 2007 at 8:11 am

    What about to say is not scientific, but a personal observation from reading Pew surveys as it relates to Hispanics: their findings are always is the negative. So basically, I read Pew, but I do not put much stock in thier conclusions. Does anyone know from were Pew comes? Their agenda?

  • Frank
    August 23, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Why are you hung up on race/ethnicity? That isn’t what this country is about, promoting your particular group as you suggest. That concept went out with the racism of the Civil Rights Era. What you are doing is promoting brown racism opposed to the white racism of the past. Do you really want us to go back to that as a country?
    There is no problem educating Latino children in this country as long as they are here legally. Like it or not, English is the language of this country, Spanish isn’t. That is not to say that we should outlaw it’s usage in this country but what you seem to be promoting is a bi-lingual or a Spanish speaking country. We are not a Latin county, it was founded on British European culture and principles. There are 50 states in the union and the southwestern states make up only about a half dozen of them and what you are doing is seeking division between them and the rest of the country just because Mexico once claimed them. Get back to reality, wars were fought, land exchanged hands and monies paid for them and a border was drawn. Our country chose what identity it would be known for and what language it would speak and adopt and it isn’t Latino identity nor the Spanish language. If you are so adamant about living in that culture and promoting it nationwide then move to a Latino country.

  • Cuban Coffee Girl
    August 23, 2007 at 9:10 am

    I’m resending this because I seemed to have missed a few typos. FYI — As my name suggests, I am Cuban with a post graduate degree, and I’m not a great proof reader. 🙂
    What I’m about to say is not scientific, but a personal observation from reading Pew surveys as it relates to Hispanics: their findings are always in the negative. So basically, I read Pew, but I do not put much stock in their conclusions. Does anyone know from where Pew comes? Their agenda?
    Hope I didn’t miss anything!

  • yave begnet
    August 23, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    I think Pew is officially nonpartisan, but if anything, it may lean a little left. Pew is always conducting their global survey on attitudes towards the U.S. which have been the subject of many a liberal blog post in recent years. But I don’t really know, and I realize “left” doesn’t necessarily mean “pro-Latino”.

  • mike
    October 8, 2007 at 10:02 am

    I would just like to comment on Frank’s posting. Although, he brings forth a valid point, a sense of patriotism to the U.S. is noted in his tone that is offensive to Latino’s. We must remember that America was built upon the labor of immigrants. Whether it be Italian, Polish, African, or hispanic is irrelavent. Therefore, America which is the melting pot of the world should give back to the people. For example; one important need for immigrants is education. Education is needed to better the lifestyle of immigrants and the society they live in. Unfortunately,the only way such an education can be obtained is if it is provided in one’s native language. This has been implemented throughout the States in many education facilities to much avail. An example of such a program would be the English as a Second Language programs (ESL). In conclusion, America can improve if those who reside in it improve.

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