Income, Earnings, and Poverty: A Portrait of Inequality Among Latinos/as in the United States
Poverty rates are higher and income levels are lower on the average for Latinos than for non- Hispanic Whites.1 In the year 2000, more than 1 out of every 5 Latinos lived below the poverty line in the United States in contrast to 1 out of 13 non-Hispanic Whites. Also, the median household income of non-Hispanic Whites was over one third greater than that of Hispanics in 2000. Figures 1 and 2 provide these poverty and household income statistics from 1975 to 2004 for these two demographic groups. A cursory comparison of Figures 1 and 2 predictably shows that the poverty and income numbers mirror each other. The sources of the income gap between Latinos and non-Hispanic Whites arguably provide one means to understand the poverty differentials between these two groups. Indeed, a host of studies indicates that the high poverty rates and low income levels of Latinos can be largely explained by their relatively low levels of human capital, including education, work experience, and English-language proficiency [for a recent example, see Duncan, Hotz, and Trejo (2006)]. Stemming from such studies, the general policy prescription implies that an increase in the human capital wealth of Hispanics should enhance their socioeconomic status.
KeywordsQuantile Regression American Community Survey Latino Population Latino Immigrant Hourly Earning
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