From guest blogger Kimberly Shannon
The National Council of La Raza today released the NCLR Latino Kids Data Explorer, a free interactive tool that allows users to search for specific data on Latino children and create instant tables of select information. The Data Explorer is an expansion of the civil rights organization's 2010 publication America's Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends, and uses data gathered by the Population Reference Bureau and Child Trends. It is funded in part by the Birth to Five Policy Alliance.
The tool, which is paired with an infographic and fact sheet, uses 27 national and state-level indicators of Latino child well-being, spanning the categories of demographic, health, education, housing, income, and juvenile justice. It allows users to choose an age group and time period when applicable to obtain information on. After users choose the category, indicator, age range, and time period, they can view and compare information by race, as well as for individual states. Tables can be printed or downloaded from the user-friendly platform.
The education categories include national assessment data, and enrollment info for federal and local early-childhood programs. The accompanying fact sheet, "Building a Brighter Future: Latino Children—Ready to Learn," outlines obstacles that Latino challenge face in early childhood.
The council considers early education to be an important factor in Latino success. "Studies show that children who attend high-quality preschool do better in school overall, are more likely to graduate from high school, are less likely to be arrested and earn more income over their lifetime than their peers who do not attend preschool," said Liany Elba Arroyo, associate director of the Education and Children's Policy Project at NCLR, in a press release.
While Latino poverty in the U.S. has increased from 28.4 percent of all children living in poverty in the U.S. in 1999 to 35 percent in 2010, some other statistics showed small gains. For example, 370,000 more Latino children attended preschool in 2010 than in 2000, and the number of Hispanic children not attending preschool dropped from 52 percent in 2000 to 46.6 percent in 2010. However, these gains are at risk if policymakers do not make a greater effort towards equality, argues NCLR.
In the midst of the presidential elections, information about Latino children is important because it can and should strongly affect policymaking as well as voters' decisions, according to Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, director of Civic Engagement and Immigration at NCLR. "Neither party can get to the White House without Latino support," she said in a media call. Hispanic children represent nearly 15.8 million potential new voters that will be added to the U.S. electorate by 2028, and will make up 18 percent of the country's workforce by 2018, a press release from NCLR says.