Special Report

The Worst States for Hispanics and Latinos

Source: Thinkstock

45. Louisiana
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 4.8% (14th lowest)
> Homeownership rate: 42.6% (Hispanic), 74.9% (white)
> Unemployment rate: 3.8% (Hispanic), 4.3% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 1,114 (Hispanic), 675 (white)

Louisiana is one of only five states where Hispanics and Latinos are less likely to be jobless than white residents. Only 3.8% of the state’s Hispanic labor force is out of a job compared to 4.3% of the white labor force. Nationwide, unemployment among Hispanics is 5.8% — well above the 4.3% white unemployment rate. Likely due in part to stronger employment, the state’s 22.2% Hispanic poverty rate is only 9.8 percentage points higher than the white poverty rate, lower than the 11.0 percentage point gap nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

44. Alaska
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 6.7% (22nd lowest)
> Homeownership rate: 43.1% (Hispanic), 69.0% (white)
> Unemployment rate: 4.4% (Hispanic), 5.0% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 650 (Hispanic), 370 (white)

While nationwide 5.8% of the Hispanic workforce and 4.3% of the white workforce is unemployed, in Alaska the Hispanic unemployment rate of 4.4% is lower than the white jobless rate of 5.0% — one of five states in which Hispanic-white unemployment disparity is reversed. Alaska also has one of the smaller gaps in educational attainment between the groups of any state. High school educational attainment in Alaska is generally high. Some 96.0% of white adults and 82.1% of Hispanic adults have graduated from high school. The 14.0 percentage point gap is small compared to the country as a whole. Nationwide, 92.5% of white Americans and 67.1% of Hispanic Americans have a high school diploma, a 25-point gap.

Source: Thinkstock

43. Maryland
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 9.2% (23rd highest)
> Homeownership rate: 47.6% (Hispanic), 76.7% (white)
> Unemployment rate: 5.4% (Hispanic), 3.1% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 311 (Hispanic), 310 (white)

Maryland is one of the wealthiest states and has relatively little income inequality between white and Hispanic residents. Some 12.4% of Maryland’s Hispanic population lives in poverty, the second smallest share of any state and just 5.3 percentage points above the 7.1% white poverty rate. By comparison, nationwide 21.0% of Hispanic Americans and 10.0% of white Americans live in poverty — an 11 percentage point difference. Maryland also has the smallest difference in incarceration rates between the two demographics of any state.

Maryland also has one of the most diverse Hispanic populations, and Baltimore is home to a growing Latino community known as Spanish Town. The makeup of state’s Hispanic population is 31.1% Salvadoran, 8.4% Guatemalan, 5.8% Honduran, and 1.8% Bolivian, each some of the largest shares among Hispanics of any state.

Source: Thinkstock

42. Virginia
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 8.7% (24th lowest)
> Homeownership rate: 45.2% (Hispanic), 72.6% (white)
> Unemployment rate: 3.2% (Hispanic), 3.1% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 482 (Hispanic), 466 (white)

While there are always gaps between Hispanic and white populations of each states, the gaps in Virginia are not as wide as is typical nationwide in several important socioeconomic measures. The Hispanic incarceration rate in Virginia of 482 prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic residents is only slightly higher than the white incarceration rate of 466 prisoners per 100,000 white residents. Nationwide, the Hispanic incarceration rate is nearly double the white incarceration rate. Additionally, unemployment among Hispanics in Virginia is only 3.2%, in line with the unemployment rate among the state’s working white residents of 3.1%.

Source: Thinkstock

41. Tennessee
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 5.0% (15th lowest)
> Homeownership rate: 37.9% (Hispanic), 71.7% (white)
> Unemployment rate: 3.8% (Hispanic), 3.8% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 595 (Hispanic), 503 (white)

While incarceration and unemployment rates for Hispanic Americans nationwide are higher than for whites, the socioeconomic disparities between the two demographics are smaller in Tennessee than in most states. Some 595 in every 100,000 Hispanic or Latino residents in Tennessee are in jail, just slightly higher than the white residents incarceration rate of 831 per 100,000. Nationwide, the gap is much higher, as 831 in every 100,000 Hispanic Americans are in jail compared to just 450 per 100,000 white Americans.

Tennessee is also the only state where the unemployment rate is the same among both whites and Hispanics, at 3.8%.

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