Pew report finds net worth of Latino households lower than other ethnic or racial group during the recession.

Hispanic families accounted for the largest single decline in wealth of any ethnic and racial group in the country during the recession, according to a study published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

The study, which used data collected by the Census Bureau, found that the median wealth of Hispanic households fell by 66 percent from 2005 to 2009. By contrast, the median wealth of whites fell by just 16 percent over the same period. African Americans saw their wealth drop by 53 percent. Asians also saw a big decline, with household wealth dropping 54 percent.

The declines have led to the largest wealth disparities in the 25 years that the bureau has been collecting the data, according to the report.

Median wealth of whites is now 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households, double the already marked disparities that had prevailed in the decades before the recent recession, the study found.

“It’s a very stark reminder of the high share of minorities who live at the economic margins of this country,” said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and an author of the report. “These data really show their economic vulnerability.”

Household wealth, also referred to in the report as net worth, is made up of assets, like a house, a car, savings and stocks, minus debts, like mortgages, car loans and credit cards. It is tracked by the Census Bureau in the Survey of Income and Program Participation, a broad sampling of household wealth by race and ethnicity.

Nearly two-thirds of Hispanics’ median net worth in 2005 came from home equity, according to the report, and when the housing market collapsed, so did their wealth. Median home equity for Hispanics fell by 51 percent in the period of the survey. The drop was compounded by the fact that Hispanics tended to live in the places that were hit hardest in the recession, like Florida and California, the report said.

Armando Moya, a Mexican immigrant from Woodbridge, outside Washington, experienced these swings of fortune first-hand. For a few happy years, he believed he had avoided his father’s fate of scraping by. He bought a house with a backyard and opened a taco restaurant with his brothers. His bank account was growing, and he took his family on vacations several times a year.

Mr. Moya lives in Prince William County, where the Hispanic population more than tripled from 2000 to 2010, according to the Migration Policy Institute, with many newcomers working in construction trades that were flourishing in the rapidly growing suburbs of Washington.

To capitalize on the influx, Mr. Moya, who is now 38 and had been working in restaurants since he came to the United States in the early 1990s, decided to start his own, and together with his brother opened Ricos Tacos Moya in 2005.

In the same year, he bought a house valued at $350,000. His monthly payments were more than $2,300, and with hungry workers filling his restaurant, he managed.

But when the collapse of the housing market swept like a wave through this Northern Virginia county, taking his house, and his bank account, and many of his customers along with it, he lost his middle-class lifestyle.

“Everything was going down,” he said.

Now he is back where he started, living with his family in a rented apartment, and working seven days a week in the taco restaurant. His house sold for $135,000 to a couple from Morocco, he said.

“My money changed,” he said. “I lost my house.”

The share of Americans with no wealth at all rose sharply during the recession. A third of Hispanics had zero or negative net worth in 2009, up from 23 percent in 2005. For blacks, the portion rose to 35 percent from 29 percent, and for whites, it rose to 15 percent from 11 percent.

About a quarter of all black and Hispanic households owned nothing but a car in 2009. Just 6 percent of whites and 8 percent of Asians were in that situation.

Whites were less affected by the crisis, largely because their wealth flowed from assets other than housing, like stocks. A third of whites owned stocks and mutual funds in 2005, compared with 8 percent of Hispanics and 9 percent of blacks.

The median value of stocks and mutual funds owned by whites dropped by 9 percent from 2005 to 2009. In comparison, the median value of holdings for those blacks who held stocks dropped by 71 percent, most likely because they had to sell when prices were low, Mr. Taylor said.

The median wealth of Hispanic and black households is at its lowest point since 1984, when the Census Bureau first conducted the study, the report said.

Mr. Moya counts himself lucky to still have his restaurant. He has to work weekends at a nightclub in Washington to keep up with his rent. His life is increasingly resembling his father’s — subsisting, without saving — but he has pinned his hopes for a better life on his sons, and he has discarded the idea of returning to Mexico.

“I want my house back,” he said. “I’m working for my house right now.”

Published in NYTimes July 26, 2011

Pew report finds net worth of Latino households lower than other ethnic or racial group during the recession.

Hispanic population exceeds 50 million

Hispanic population exceeds 50 million, firmly nation’s No. 2 group

The growing Hispanic population in the United States has reached a new milestone, topping 50 million, or 16.3% of the nation, officially solidifying its position as the country’s second-largest group, U.S. Census Bureau officials said Thursday.
“Overall, we’ve learned that our nation’s population has become more racially and ethnically diverse over the past 10 years,” said Nicholas A. Jones, chief of the bureau’s racial statistics branch.

Several trends emerged from the 2010 census, according to Robert M. Groves, director of the Census Bureau, and Marc J. Perry, chief of the population distribution branch.

South sees largest growth this decade

The country is growing at a smaller rate. Growth is concentrated in metropolitan areas and in the American West and South. The fastest-growing communities are suburbs such as Lincoln, California, outside Sacramento. And standard-bearer cities such as Boston, Baltimore and Milwaukee are no longer in the top 20 for population, replaced by upstarts such as El Paso, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, the officials said.

The most significant trend, however, appeared to be the nation’s new count of 50.5 million Latinos, whose massive expansion accounted for more than half of the nation’s overall growth of 27.3 million people, to a new overall U.S. population of 308.7 million, officials said. The Hispanic population grew 43% since 2000, officials said.

In stark contrast, all other populations together grew by only about 5%, officials said. The nation as a whole expanded by 9.7%.
Bureau officials declined Thursday to say how much illegal immigration has spurred growth among Latinos and other minorities, saying the sources of the growth are still being studied.

“Those are actually very excellent questions,” said Roberto Ramirez, chief of the bureau’s ethnicity and ancestry branch. “We are actually in the middle of the process of investigating that.”

D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer at the Pew Research Center in Washington, said the birth rate, rather than immigration, is the primary driving factor in the Latino boom. Hispanics now account for nearly one-quarter of children under the age of 18, Cohn said. “Hispanics are a younger population, and there are just more women of a child-bearing age,” she said.

Although immigration remains a major contributor to Hispanic population growth, the recent recession and high employment rates may have prompted a tapering off in the rate of foreign-born nationals seeking U.S. residence, analysts said. Intensified border patrols may have reduced illegal immigration, but those measures “remain at the margins,” said William Frey, a demographer at The Brookings Institution. He added that America’s overall undocumented immigrant population — estimated at between 10 million and 11 million people — may have even declined in recent years, though accurate numbers are difficult to acquire.

While Latinos are evidence of a growing voting bloc, they may not necessarily spur immigration reform in Congress, which has been paralyzed politically for years on whether to reform immigration laws or roll out additional crackdowns such as a beefed-up border patrol, said one immigrant rights advocate in Arizona.

“We hope these census numbers signal a new era of racial politics in our states, rooted not only in strong economies but also equalities for all people,” said Jennifer Allen, executive director of the human rights organization Border Action Network.
Home to the busiest border crossing for illegal immigration, Arizona has been the nation’s hotbed for several laws targeting illegal immigrants, including the much-publicized Senate Bill 1070 that is now being challenged on constitutional grounds in federal court because one of its controversial provisions allows racial profiling by police, critics charge.

Several states have tried to pass measures similar to Arizona’s, but not with much success, Allen asserted.
The census figures may dampen further immigration crackdowns in Arizona because the new population count “demonstrates the growing importance of Latino voters throughout the state,” Allen said.

As the census figures are used for congressional redistricting in states, Latino voters should not be “written off and treated as disposable constituents,” she added. The census data show that while the white population increased by 2.2 million to 196.8 million, its share of the total population dropped to 64% from 69%, officials said.

The Asian population also grew 43%, increasing from 10.2 million in 2000 to 14.7 million in 2010, officials said. Asians now account for about 5% of the nation’s population. The African-American population, which grew by about 4.3 million, is now about 40 million, or 12.6% of the population, a slight increase over 12.3% in 2000, officials said.

Persons reporting “some other race” grew by 3.7 million, to 19 million, or 5.5% of the nation, figures show.
The vast majority of Americans, 97%, reported only one race, with whites as the largest group, accounting for about seven out of 10 Americans. The remaining 3% of the population reported multiple races, and almost all of them listed exactly two races. White and black was the leading biracial combination, figures show.

“The face of the country is changing,” said Jeffrey Passel, demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center.
Demographic data had already been released for all states except New York and Maine and for the District of Columbia.
In fast-growing states where whites and blacks dominated past growth, Hispanics are now the greatest growth engine, Frey said.

The significance of the numbers to the United States is more than just an increase of an ethnicity. Research shows that along with the changing demographics, the country has become more diverse in other ways, Passel said. For instance, there is a substantial mixing of the American population through interracial marriage, he said.

Another change is the concentration of the growing populations. Previously, the Hispanic population was concentrated in eight or nine states; it is now spread throughout the country, Passel said.Meanwhile, most of the data released so far show decreases in the population of white children, Frey said.

Minorities will have a greater presence among future generations, he said. For example, in Nevada, 61% of children are minorities, compared with 41% of adults. In border states like Texas, demographers say, Hispanic populations are expected to surpass non-Hispanic populations within the next decade.

“Without question, we are becoming a Hispanic state,” said Texas state demographer Lloyd Potter. “I live in San Antonio, and there you see Spanish advertisements, television shows and newspapers everywhere,” he said. In cities and towns across the region, there are Spanish-speaking restaurants, retailers and annual festivals.

“It’s helpful to be able to speak a little Spanish if you’re non-Hispanic,” Potter said. “My neighbors don’t really speak much English. While my Spanish isn’t great, at least we can interact and be neighbors.” But while the labor force may absorb Spanish-only employees, an emerging debate among policy makers asks whether their children face additional challenges in English-speaking schools.

“Education attainment is the single best determinant for a whole variety of social outcomes,” said Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington. Analysts speculate that while population levels swell, comparable growth in education levels may take some time.

“In New York City, Italians once had a much higher high school dropout rate,” Camarota said, noting an Italian immigration flux in the United States that spanned the years of 1890 to 1920. “It took them 60 to 70 years to lower those levels and close the socioeconomic gap.”

U.S. Hispanics top 50 million
The Hispanic population is now 50.5 million, or 16% of the country
The white population is 197 million, dropping to 64%
The black population is 40 million, or nearly 13%
The Asian population grew 43% to 14.7 million, or about 5%

By Michael Martinez and David Ariosto, CNN

Hispanic population exceeds 50 million

Latinos anxious over end of school liaisons in Pr. George’s

As word spreads of the recent decision by the Prince George’s Board of Education to eliminate 120 full-time parent liaisons next year to save money, parents and staff at schools with large Latino populations are increasingly worried about how they will cope.

In her eight years at Hyattsville Middle School, liaison Rosa Lorenzo, 48, has often been the only person able to interpret for the roughly one-third of parents who speak only Spanish.

When a learning disability was diagnosed in eighth-grader Fernando Ocono in November, his mother said, it was Lorenzo who kept her involved in the school’s response plan by explaining the procedures and regularly updating her on the boy’s progress.

When a teacher noticed that seventh-grader Christian Gonzalez had grown distracted and depressed in October, Lorenzo not only found out the source of the boy’s anguish — his father was going blind from untreated diabetes — but also searched for clinics that could provide low-cost treatment without health insurance. Today the father is on the mend, and Christian recently made the honor roll.

“It will harm me so much not to have her,” Christian’s mother, Laura Castro, 36, said in Spanish.

“I consult her on everything — how to understand Christian’s report card, what after-school programs he should sign up for . . .,” said Castro, who makes a living collecting scrap metal. “Who will I talk to when she’s gone? I will feel powerless.”

The Latino community’s growing anxiety over the board’s decision highlights Prince George’s uneasy transition from a majority-black county that has been a magnet for affluent African Americans to a county increasingly characterized by low-income Latino immigrant enclaves.
Changing demographics

African Americans have been losing ground in the school system since 2003, when their numbers peaked at 78 percent of the student population. By contrast, the Hispanic student population is growing rapidly, doubling between 2002 and 2009. Nearly one in five Prince George’s public school students are Hispanic; some schools have concentrations as high as 98 percent.

Tension over how schools should serve newcomers without neglecting the needs of established groups, such as the county’s substantial number of low-income African Americans, surfaced at the meeting last week during which board members — none of whom are Latino — overwhelmingly voted down a proposal to preserve 40 out of 120 liaisons who are bilingual.

“To pick and choose a group” of liaisons to keep, said board member Pat Fletcher (District 3), “is even more devastating than letting them all go,” calling it “ironic” that only “Hispanic positions” would be saved.

She explained in an interview several days later that she was a strong supporter of the liaison program as a whole. But she said that she saw many English-speaking parents having trouble navigating the school system, too.

“It’s the same issue. In terms of [an American] mother who had bad experiences in school, dropped out and just had no clue in terms of the school system, it’s the same,” she said.

But board member Heather Iliff (District 2), who was the lone vote in favor of saving the bilingual liaisons, disagreed. “I think the need is more acute for people who don’t speak the language,” she said.

Administrators at several schools with bilingual liaisons echoed that view. Counselors or other staff might be able to make up for Lorenzo’s absence by forming close bonds with parents who speak English, noted Gail Golden, principal of Hyattsville Middle School. “But I don’t have any counselors who are bilingual, I’m not bilingual, and none of my assistant principals are bilingual,” she said, so Lorenzo is “pivotal.”
Woman of many roles

To watch Lorenzo in action on a recent morning was to get a glimpse of what Golden meant. A petite woman with a hearty laugh who worked as manager of a jewelry store before deciding to find a job where she could serve the community, Lorenzo strides through the halls in a blur, gripping a walkie-talkie that constantly bleeps with requests.

“Miss Lorenzo: Are you there?” crackled the voice of one the assistant principals. “I need you to make some calls.” Of the 10 eighth-graders with unexplained absences that day, five had parents who speak only Spanish.

“Sure, I’ll be there in a sec,” said Lorenzo, stopping to offer a friendly smile to a tense-looking Honduran woman waiting in the main office.

“Hi. You’re here to pick up your daughter for a doctor’s appointment?” asked the Dominican-born Lorenzo in Spanish. The woman’s face relaxed at the sound of her own language. “Ok,” continued Lorenzo. “If you can, ask the doctor for a note. That way your daughter will be excused for missing class.”

Then it was off to help the director of the English for Speakers of Other Languages program write a comment form for parents. “I really want them to tell me what further information they’d find useful,” said the teacher.

“Okay,” said Lorenzo, taking out her pen. “Here’s how you say this.”

Lorenzo also often serves as an indispensable cultural ambassador, Golden said, for instance helping immigrant parents recognize the value of enrolling children in free after-school tutoring.

Simply sending a note home in Spanish notifying parents of the opportunity is not enough, explained Lorenzo, who draws on her own experience coming to the United States at 17 and raising six children in county schools.

“When they say no, it’s because they don’t trust that their children are going to go. They think it’s an excuse to party or something,” Lorenzo said.

“I have a lot of parents who can’t even read the permission slip in Spanish. So I have to call them and tell them, ‘This is what this is for, and it’s okay to sign, and if you want to come and observe, you can.’ Once I say all that, they feel relieved and say yes.”

Indeed, the ability of bilingual liaisons to bridge cultural differences along with linguistic ones is the reason several principals said they’ve decided to use federal Title I funding for high-poverty schools to keep their parent liaisons on board.

“We’ll have to make adjustments in other areas,” said Carol Cantu, principal of Riverdale Elementary School, “But it’s not going to hurt us as much as losing [the liaison] would.”

Only about half of the schools with parent liaisons have access to Title I funding. Hyattsville Middle School is among 29 that do not.

Golden said she would bring in volunteers and bilingual staff from elsewhere in the school system to interpret at as many meetings and events as possible. At best, she said, it would a stop-gap solution. Lorenzo’s absences “will significantly impact our ability to properly serve our Latino population,” Golden said. “Am I concerned? Very.”

By N.C. Aizenman and Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 7, 2010; C04

Latinos anxious over end of school liaisons in Pr. George’s

The Rapid Growth and Changing Complexion of Suburban Public Schools

From Richard Fry, Senior Research Associate, Pew Hispanic Center
March 31, 2009
“The student population of America’s suburban public schools has shot up by 3.4 million in the past decade and a half, and virtually all of this increase (99%) has been due to the enrollment of new Latino, black and Asian students, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of public school data. Once a largely white enclave, suburban school districts in 2006-07 educated a student population that was 41.4% non-white, up from 28% in 1993-94 and not much different from the 43.7% non-white share of the nation’s overall public school student population. At the same time, suburban school districts have been gaining “market share”; they educated 38% of the nation’s public school students in 2006-07, up from 35% in 1993-94.”

The Rapid Growth and Changing Complexion of Suburban Public Schools

U.S. Latino Demographics

Pew Reports
Latinos Account for Half of U.S. Population Growth Since 2000

Since 2000 Hispanics have accounted for more than half (50.5%) of the overall population growth in the United States — a significant new demographic milestone for the nation’s largest minority group. During the 1990s, the Hispanic population also expanded rapidly, but in that decade its growth accounted for less than 40% of the nation’s total population increase. In a reversal of past trends, Latino population growth in the new century has been more a product of the natural increase (births minus deaths) of the existing population than it has been of new international migration. As of mid-2007, Hispanics accounted for 15.1% of the total U.S. population.

Since 2000 many Latinos have settled in counties that once had few Latinos, continuing a pattern that began in the previous decade. But there are subtle differences in Hispanic settlement patterns in the current decade compared with those of the 1990s. The dispersion of Latinos in the new century has tilted more to counties in the West and the Northeast. Despite the new tilt, however, the South accounted for a greater share of overall Latino population growth than any other region in the new century. There is also an ever-growing concentration of Hispanic population growth in metropolitan areas. These findings emerge from the Pew Hispanic Center’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s 2007 county population estimates, supplemented by 1990 and 2000 county population counts from the Decennial Censuses.

U.S. Latino Demographics

The Trouble with Diversity

For anyone working on the politics of race of late one thing is clear: diversity is being attacked as both a concept and a practice. Just outside Philadelphia, in the town of Bensalem, there is an emerging uproar over the recruitment of Latino and Black officers to the police force because, it is claimed, such a practice is a thinly veiled guise for racism and discrimination. The claim comes at the heels of the township’s hiring of a firm to attract and recruit Latino and Black officers. According to a recent editorial, “this use of public money advances racial discrimination under the polite guise of diversity.” The piece goes on to note that the police force is comprised of of 102 officers. Of these, one is Black and the other is Latino. Hmm? Two “diverse” officers in a police force of 102? In a county where the racial demographic does not bear out the paucity of racial and ethnic diversity in the force, it never occurs to the writer that the combined Black and Latino population of almost 16% in Buck’s county has a history. A history that makes it possible to see “diversity” as a racist practice.

I’ve just finished reading Walter Benn Michaels’ The Trouble with Diversity and will write a post on it soon.

The Trouble with Diversity

From Andrés Duque’s Blabbeando

(Go to site on links section: Blabbeando) Andrés writes, “Thanks to my post on Wednesday, I have been contacted by the law firm working on behalf of Alvaro Orozco, the 21 year old Nicaraguan young man who is fighting deportation proceedings in Canada after the Immigration and Refugee Board refused to grant him asylum based on fear of persecution for being gay.

The reason? After a live long-distance video interview with Mr. Orozco, the court deemed that he wasn’t gay enough and that it was unclear how Mr. Orozco could know he was gay at twelve years of age when he ran away from home as he wasn’t sexually active during his teen years.

Today The Globe and Mail reports that Mr. Orozco’s new lawyers have won a small victory: He will not be deported on Tuesday as scheduled as the Canadian Justice Department has granted a two month deferral (though they could have decided to grant him refugee status instead and did not do so).

I am working on sending published articles on the treatment of gays and lesbians in Nicaragua over the last 5 years that support Mr. Orozcos’ fear of persecution should he be deported to Nicaragua.

What you can do:

A website has been set up on Alvaro’s behalf at: Alvaro Orozco

Once there, you can get information on a letter writing campaign that might help to sway the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to grant asylum for Mr. Orozco (including sample letters).

To find out more about the case you can connect to video reports here and here (even if they were conducted before the two month deportation deferral).”

From Andrés Duque’s Blabbeando