April 1, 2023

Economix Blog: Latinos on the Economy: Hard Hit but Hopeful

Latinos have been especially hard hit by the economic downturn, with nearly four in 10 — 38 percent — saying they have skipped meals because they did not have enough money for food, according to a national survey published on Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

With Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, Republican candidates for the presidential nomination, duking it out in Florida for Latino votes, the Pew survey paints in the background to show why jobs and the economy, rather than immigration, are the leading issues for many Latinos.

Latinos nationally are keenly aware that they have fared worse than other groups, the Pew survey found. Yet they remain surprisingly optimistic that things will improve for them.

Nearly one-third of Latinos – 28 percent — say that as a result of plunging home values, their mortgages are higher than the current value of their homes, Pew found; that is double the rate of 14 percent found in a national poll conducted last March of homeowners who are underwater. And 7 percent of Latinos who do not own a home said they lost theirs to foreclosure in the past year; 5 percent of the general population that does not own a home reported facing a recent foreclosure in a survey conducted in May 2010.

About 37 percent of Latinos said they had trouble receiving or paying for medical care for their families.

More than half of the Latinos in the United States — 52 percent — are immigrants, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, based on census data. The economic pain is more severe among them than among native-born Latinos, with 43 percent of the immigrants surveyed saying they missed meals because they could not buy food.

Yet two-thirds of Latinos said they expected their finances to improve in the coming year, and about two-thirds expected their children to do better than they did, Pew found. In a Pew survey conducted last March, only 48 percent of the general public expected the next generation to have better lives.

About 11 percent of Florida’s registered Republicans are Latinos, according to official figures from the Florida secretary of state. Florida’s Latinos include many Cubans, who vote Republican more frequently than other Latinos and whose views may diverge from those of the Hispanic population as a whole.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Mr. Romney has taken a hard line on immigration, saying illegal immigrants should “self-deport.” Mr. Gingrich has said he also opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, but he would give legal status to some who have lived in the country for many years and to illegal immigrant students who agreed to serve in the military. Latinos nationwide overwhelmingly support policies to give legal status to illegal immigrants, Pew has found. Mr. Romney is betting that the economic issues will be more urgent to Latinos in Florida, where the housing crisis has been especially deep and long-lasting.

The survey is based on telephone interviews from Nov. 9 to Dec. 7 of a national sample of 1,220 Latinos, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=63f12527a3b5d20c42682f219cb3cd51