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More Poor Children in the U.S. are Hispanic; More Hispanic Children in the U.S. are Poor

The Pew Hispanic Center just released a report about the impact of the recession on Hispanic children. As of 2010, the number of Hispanic children living in poverty was greater than the number of white children living in poverty for the first time: 6.1 million Hispanic children are now officially poor.

According to the report, there are more Hispanics in the U.S. now than ever and more of them are children, but that only partly accounts for the change. Hispanics as a group fared particularly poorly through the Great Recession.

A summary of some of Pew's findings:

The Great Recession, which began in 2007 and officially ended in 2009, had a large impact on the Latino community. At its beginning, the unemployment rate among Latino workers increased rapidly, especially among immigrant workers. Today, the unemployment rate among Latinos, at 11.1%, is higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.1%. Household wealth among Latinos declined more sharply than either black or white households between 2005 and 2009. And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food insecurity among Latino households increased sharply at the start of the Great Recession. In 2008, nearly a third (32.1%) of Latino households with children faced food insecurity, up from 23.8% in 2007.

Prior to the Great Recession, more white children lived in poverty than Hispanic children. However, since 2007, that pattern has reversed. Between 2007 and 2010, an additional 1.6 million Hispanic children lived in poverty, an increase of 36.3%. By contrast, even though the number of white and black children living in poverty also grew, their numbers grew more slowly--up 17.6% and 11.7% respectively.

It's 2011 and The Great Recession is technically over, but a quick glance at unemployment statistics will tell you that the economic situation remains shaky for many Americans.

The New York Times quotes Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, on the relevance of the study: "Who [these children] become will be important for the future of the nation." The nation's ELL programs—the services English-language learners do and do not receive— will help determine how many of those impoverished students who make it through high school and into college and/or the workforce.

The report does offer some bright spots: The overall poverty rate of Hispanics in the U.S. is actually less than it was in 1994. The report also says that many Hispanic children said in a survey that they believe they'll be better off than their parents. On the downside, the study notes that an even higher percentage of African-American children live in poverty than Hispanic children.

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