Special Report

The Worst States for Hispanics and Latinos

Source: Thinkstock

15. Washington
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 12.1% (15th highest)
> Homeownership rate: 43.4% (Hispanic), 67.2% (white)
> Unemployment rate: 7.6% (Hispanic), 5.3% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 601 (Hispanic), 392 (white)

The income gap between the typical white household and the typical Hispanic household nationwide is about $16,000. In Washington, the gap is far greater. The typical white household in the state earns about $70,500 a year, nearly $20,000 more than the typical Hispanic household.

Incomes tend to increase alongside educational attainment, and in Washington, white adults are far more likely to have at least a bachelor’s degree than Hispanic adults. Some 36.7% of white adults have a bachelor’s degree, 21.4 percentage points above the bachelor’s degree attainment rate among Hispanic adults.

Source: Thinkstock

14. Mississippi
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 2.9% (4th lowest)
> Homeownership rate: 48.1% (Hispanic), 76.7% (white)
> Unemployment rate: 7.8% (Hispanic), 4.5% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 4,869 (Hispanic), 600 (white)

Mississippi is one of the worst states in the country for Hispanics and Latinos. The state has the highest Hispanic incarceration rate in the country with 4,869 Hispanics in jail for every 100,000 residents — more than eight times the state’s white incarceration rate and well above the U.S. Hispanic incarceration rate of 831 per 100,000.

Hispanics in Mississippi are also far more likely than the state’s white residents to struggle to secure a job. The 7.8% unemployment rate among Hispanics is 3.3 percentage points higher than the 4.5% white unemployment rate — a difference more than double the 1.5 percentage point disparity nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

13. Arizona
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 30.5% (4th highest)
> Homeownership rate: 52.1% (Hispanic), 70.0% (white)
> Unemployment rate: 7.1% (Hispanic), 5.1% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 1,453 (Hispanic), 633 (white)

An estimated 30.5% of Arizona residents are Hispanic, the fourth largest share after California, Texas, and New Mexico. Arizona lawmakers have garnered criticism for the passing of Arizona SB 1070, a law requiring aliens over the age of 18 to carry identification, which according to some critics encourages racial profiling. Arizona has one of the largest disparities in incarceration between whites and Hispanics of any state. Nationwide, Hispanic Americans comprise 17.3% of the population and 19.0% of the prison population. In Arizona, Hispanics comprise 30.5% of the state population and 41.0% of the prison population. The state also has larger disparities between the demographics in college attainment and unemployment than a majority of states.

Source: Thinkstock

12. Nebraska
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 10.2% (19th highest)
> Homeownership rate: 45.1% (Hispanic), 69.6% (white)
> Unemployment rate: 4.7% (Hispanic), 2.7% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 867 (Hispanic), 282 (white)

Only 55.6% of Hispanic adults in Nebraska have a high school diploma, the lowest high school attainment rate among Hispanics and Latinos of any state. Meanwhile, nearly 95% of white adults in the state have a high school diploma, nearly the largest share among states.

A high school education is utmost important for financial stability, and the difference in educational attainment rates appears to have a meaningful impact on poverty rates between whites and Hispanics in the state. Some 22.7% of Hispanics in Nebraska live below the poverty line compared to 8.5% of white residents.

Source: Thinkstock

11. South Dakota
> Pct. residents Hispanic: 3.4% (9th lowest)
> Homeownership rate: 36.2% (Hispanic), 71.4% (white)
> Unemployment rate: N/A, 1.5% (white)
> Incarcerated people per 100,000: 1,727 (Hispanic), 508 (white)

Some 25.2% of the South Dakota Hispanic population lives in poverty, the 10th largest share of any state and far higher than the 8.4% white poverty rate. The gap of 16.8 percentage point in poverty rates between the two demographics is the fifth largest of any state and much larger than the 11.0 percentage point gap nationwide between the white and Hispanic poverty rates of 21.0% and 10.0%, respectively.
South Dakota also has one of the largest disparities in incarceration rates in the country. Hispanic residents in South Dakota are incarcerated at more than three times the rate of white residents — while 508 in every 100,000 white residents in the state are in prison, over 1,700 in every 100,000 Hispanic residents are incarcerated. Only three states have larger disparities.