To determine the 10 worst states for Hispanic and Latino Americans, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of nine measures to assess racial gaps in access to resources and opportunities in each state. Creating the index in this way highlights disparities between racial groups rather than what may be a particularly poor socioeconomic climate in a state for both whites and Hispanics. For each measure, we constructed and normalized an index from the disparities between white and Hispanic Americans. We excluded states where Hispanic or Latino residents comprise less than 5% of the population.
To construct the index, we used 2014 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) on median household income, poverty, high school and college educational attainment rates, and homeownership rates — each broken out by ethnicity. Unemployment rates for 2015 came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Incarceration rates came from the Prison Policy Initiative, a Massachusetts-based think tank, and are as of 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we considered 2009-2013 rate estimates for age-adjusted mortality and infant mortality.
In addition to data incorporated into the index, we also considered the share of students with limited English proficiency from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population in each state from the Migration Policy Institute, a think tank based in Washington D.C. Data on age, citizenship status, and country of origin come from the 2014 ACS.
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