Through Children's Eyes: Families and Households of Latino Children in the United States

  • Jennifer E. Glick
  • Jennifer Van Hook

The children of Latinos today are a diverse group along several dimensions. They differ in generational composition. Some are children of recent immigrants, whereas others are born in the United States from families with several generations of U.S. citizens. They differ in ethnic origins. Some originate from Mexico, but they also come from countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. They identify as different races. These children might or might not accept a pan-ethnic identity as their own. This great diversity in origins is also associated with differential outcomes in the United States. Concerns about the well-being of Latino children stem from their lower socioeconomic position relative to other pan-ethnic groups and the lower educational attainment evidenced by second-generation children, particularly those of Mexican origin (Bean & Stevens, 2003). This has led to a debate over generational progress and whether some Latino groups are likely to become permanently disadvantaged in the United States (Portes & Zhou, 1993). Although the concern about children’s well-being stems from the lower socioeconomic background of Latino families in general, other characteristics might mitigate negative effects of low socioeconomic status on children. This is because the disadvantaged structural position of some Latinos is not associated with the same family behavior patterns associated with other disadvantaged groups in the United States (Perlmann, 2005). For example, age at marriage tends to be lower among Mexican- and Central/South American-origin adults than non-Latino Whites, a pattern that is consistent with the cultural stereotype emphasizing marriage and religious conservatism. Low divorce rates, high marriage rates, and greater extended family coresidence are also commonly cited as traditional “familistic” patterns that might be protective for Latino children (Feliciano, Bean, & Leach, 2005). Even among second-generation youths in the United States, family formation patterns are more similar to non-Latino Whites than other minorities with similar economic profiles (Glick et al., 2006; Wildsmith & Raley, 2006).


Family Structure Living Arrangement Current Population Survey Latino Family Latino Child 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer E. Glick
    • 1
  • Jennifer Van Hook
  1. 1.Center for Population DynamicsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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