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NCLR: Latino Children's Future Is Nation's Future

The National Council of La Raza and Population Reference Bureau have compiled statistics about Latino children in the United States and their well-being to make the case that the group deserves focused attention by policymakers. The authors of the report, "America's Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends," say that "the situation of Hispanic children and families is inextricably bound to the success of our entire nation." See what The New York Times wrote about the report here.

The report notes that, over the past two decades, the number of Latino children under age 18 living in the United States has doubled, to 16 million. Social strengths include families and communities that are intact, a youthful population, a strong work ethic, and parents' attention to the health and welfare of their children. But whether Latinos succeed in U.S. society can be influenced by a range of circumstances, including citizenship status, family structure, education, and English-language ability, according to the report.

Here are some facts that jumped out of the report for me:

—One out of five Latino children—mostly children of immigrants—don't have access to health insurance.

—Nearly 60 percent of Latino children have at least one foreign-born parent, but 92 percent of Latino children are U.S. citizens.

—Only 55 percent of Latino youths who enter 9th grade finish high school with a regular diploma, compared with about 76 percent of whites.

Another interesting finding: the circumstances of Latino children vary by state, region, and generation. For example, Latino children in Maryland and Virginia fare considerably better on several economic indicators than those in other states. The authors of the report interpret this finding to mean that state-specific policies affecting children are likely contributing to differences in the well-being of Latino children.

The authors highlight the fact that 92 percent of Latino children and youth are U.S. citizens, saying that they "represent a crucial segment of our country's future workers, taxpayers, parents, citizens, voters, and leaders."

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