Special Report

The Worst States for Hispanics

In Pennsylvania, Hispanics are far more likely to be incarcerated than their white neighbors. For every 100,000 Hispanic Pennsylvanians, 2,001 are in prison, a stark contrast from the white incarceration rate of only 375 per 100,000. The disparity in incarceration rates between whites and Hispanics in Pennsylvania is one of the largest of any state in the country.

Not only are Hispanics disproportionately incarcerated in Pennsylvania, but they are also far more likely to face serious financial hardship. Roughly 32% of the state’s Hispanic population lives below the poverty line, one of this highest Hispanic poverty rates in the United States and far higher than the 9.7% poverty rate among white state residents.

2. Connecticut
> Pct. residents Hispanic:
14.3%
> Hispanic homeownership rate: 32.7% (5th lowest)
> Hispanic unemployment rate: 11.3% (2nd highest)
> Hispanic incarceration rate: 1,195 per 100,000 people (10th highest)

Connecticut residents are some of the wealthiest in the nation. High incomes, however, are largely limited to white households. The median income of white households of $78,959 is nearly the highest in the country. It is also more than double the median income of Hispanic households, which at less than $40,000 is also one of the lower incomes compared with Hispanic households in other states. Similarly, while the poverty rate among white people in the state of 6.1% is the lowest such rate nationwide, 26.5% of Hispanic state residents live in poverty. White residents are also far more likely than Hispanic residents to own their homes, adding to the wealth disparities between the ethnic groups. More than three in four white households are owned by their occupants, in stark contrast with the Hispanic homeownership rate of approximately one in every three homes.

1. Massachusetts
> Pct. residents Hispanic:
10.2%
> Hispanic homeownership rate: 21.9% (the lowest)
> Hispanic unemployment rate: 11.0% (3rd highest)
> Hispanic incarceration rate: 928 per 100,000 people (22nd highest)

While Massachusetts is one of the best places to live as a white person, it is the worst state for Hispanic Americans. Compared to white state workers, Hispanics are more than twice as likely to be unemployed, nearly the largest gap of any state. At 11%, the Hispanic or Latino unemployment rate is also nearly the highest in the United States. As is the case across the nation, Hispanic, Latino, and other non-white Massachusetts residents are far more likely to be subjected to lending discrimination. A recent study from the University of Massachusetts found that even when controlling for income, minority borrowers are less likely to receive a mortgage than their white peers in Boston and across Massachusetts. Only 21.9% of homes with Hispanic heads of households in the state are owned by their occupants — the lowest percentage for Hispanics nationwide. By contrast, the white homeownership rate in Massachusetts is 69.0%.

Mexicans make up by far the largest share of Americans identifying as Hispanic and Latino. In Massachusetts, however, Puerto Ricans make up 42% of Hispanics in the state, by far the largest proportion.