Blog: Latino Ed Beat

The Great Recession’s Impact on Latino Children

Earlier this week, we looked at the pressures placed on children of undocumented immigrants. Today, the topic is the financial toll the Great Recession has put on Latino children.

According to a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center, more Latino children are living in poverty in the U.S. than ever before — the first time that non-white children make up the largest group of poor children in the country. In 2010, 6.1 million Latino children were living in poverty, an increase the report attributes to a combination of high birth rates, rising numbers and the rocky economy.

Among the report’s findings:

  • About two-thirds of poor Latino children have immigrant parents. However, 86 percent of the children are U.S. citizens.
  • The poverty rate for Latino children has increased more than the rates for other groups. Between 2007 and 2010, the rate for Latino children went up 6.4 percent, while the rate for black children rose 4.6 percent during the same period. The rate for white children went up 2.3 percent.
  • The poverty rate for the children of immigrant parents is a grim 40 percent — the highest since 1994.
  • Children whose parents have a high school diploma or less fared the worst. About 82 percent of poor Latino children of immigrants have parents with a high school education or less. About 73 percent of  the children of native-born parents with a high school education or less were living in poverty.
  • Only 8.7% of Latino children in families with a college-educated parent were impoverished.
  • Latino children living in poverty were less likely to be living in a single-mother household and less likely to be in families with an unemployed parent.

Financial straits are often one of the top reasons that Latino students drop out of school or fail to go on to college, so do these findings presage a grim future for Latino education? Are your districts seeing an increase in the number of students leaving school early to help support their families or forgoing college because of their family’s financial problems?

Talking to school counselors and administrators  about what they are seeing and hearing could lead to a good story about the impact of the Great Recession on one of the group’s most affected: Latino students.