Special Report

The Worst States for Hispanics

7. Colorado
> Pct. residents Hispanic:
20.9%
> Hispanic homeownership rate: 48.2% (21st highest)
> Hispanic unemployment rate: 5.5% (21st lowest)
> Hispanic incarceration rate: 1,280 per 100,000 people (8th highest)

Of Hispanic workers in Colorado, 5.5% are unemployed, an exceptionally low rate compared with the other worst states for Hispanics and Latinos. Still, white workers in Colorado fare better, with a jobless rate of 3.8%. Also, the relatively strong job climate for Hispanics has not seemed to alleviate financial distress. More than 20% Hispanic Coloradans live in poverty. This rate is actually low compared to Hispanic residents in other states rates, but it is more than double the Colorado’s poverty rate among whites of 8.7%.

The similarly wide gap in educational attainment may partially explain the poor economic outcomes of Hispanic state residents. While 44.4% of white Colorado adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest percentage nationwide, only 13.6% of Hispanic adults in the state have similar education.

6. New York
> Pct. residents Hispanic:
18.2%
> Hispanic homeownership rate: 23.7% (2nd lowest)
> Hispanic unemployment rate: 6.7% (15th highest)
> Hispanic incarceration rate: 607 per 100,000 people (12th lowest)

Home to roughly 3.6 million Hispanics, New York has the fourth largest Hispanic population of any state. The state also has some of the most pervasive ethnic and racial inequity in the country. One of the most striking disparities between New York’s white population and its Hispanic population is in income. While the typical white household earns $68,283 annually, roughly $8,500 more than the median white American household, a typical Hispanic household earns roughly $2,000 less each year than the $42,748 national median among Hispanics. With lower incomes, Hispanic households are far more likely to face economic hardship than white households. More than one in four Hispanics in New York live below the poverty line while only about one in every 10 whites are impoverished.

Hispanics in New York are also far less likely to be homeowners than Hispanics throughout the country as a whole. The 23.7% homeownership rate among Hispanics in New York is well below the 45.0% national figure for Hispanics, and the 66.0% figure for white New Yorkers.

5. Rhode Island
> Pct. residents Hispanic:
13.3%
> Hispanic homeownership rate: 26.5% (3rd lowest)
> Hispanic unemployment rate: 9.1% (5th highest)
> Hispanic incarceration rate: 697 per 100,000 people (19th lowest)

Rhode Island is one of three New England states that rank among the worst in the country for Hispanics. Though not as bad as Connecticut or Massachusetts in several important measures, Hispanics in Rhode Island have the lowest median income of those in any state. A typical Hispanic household in Rhode Island earns $30,797 a year, far less than the $42,748 national median income for Hispanics and roughly half the median income of white Rhode Island households of $61,406 annually. Lower incomes may be the result of pervasive unemployment. The unemployment rate among the state’s Hispanic population of 9.1% is far higher than the unemployment rate among the state’s white population of 5.2%.

Unlike most states in the Northeast, where Hispanic populations are disproportionately Puerto Rican, Dominicans comprise the largest share of the Hispanic population in Rhode Island.

4. New Jersey
> Pct. residents Hispanic:
18.6%
> Hispanic homeownership rate: 35.3% (7th lowest)
> Hispanic unemployment rate: 7.6% (10th highest)
> Hispanic incarceration rate: 609 per 100,000 people (13th lowest)

New Jersey’s Hispanic population of over 1.6 million is one of the largest in the country. Just like in neighboring New York, economic conditions for Hispanics in the state lag far behind those of New Jersey’s white residents. Though median incomes in New Jersey are relatively high for both white and Hispanic residents, income inequality along racial and ethnic lines is also among the highest in the nation. In New Jersey, the typical Hispanic household earns $34,388 less than the typical white household, a difference that is more than double the national disparity of $16,874. Lower incomes among Hispanics likely contribute to lower than average homeownership rates. The 35.3% homeownership rate among Hispanics in New Jersey is well below the corresponding 45.0% national figure. Meanwhile, the homeownership rate among the state’s white residents is 75.8%, slightly higher than the 71.0% corresponding national rate.

Health outcomes among New Jersey’s Hispanic residents are also relatively poor. The infant mortality rate is higher for Hispanics than it is for whites, a departure from the national trend.

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