Poverty Trends among Hispanic Origin Groups, 1970-2010: Is Their Economic Position Improving or Deteriorating?
Juan M. Pedroza, Stanford University
Marybeth J. Mattingly, University of New Hampshire
As a group, in 1970, Hispanics generally occupied a middle position between whites and blacks as measured by poverty rates. However, indicators such as educational attainment suggest Hispanics did not occupy a middle position even then and have since lagged behind blacks and whites alike. Longstanding academic debates regarding changes in the relative position of Hispanics suggest that their current status is not fully understood. This paper tackles the question of Hispanics’ middle position very specifically by considering the poverty experiences of Hispanics over the past forty years. Using Decennial Census and American Community Survey data, we ask: have Hispanic poverty rates deteriorated, relative to those of whites and blacks? And, just as importantly, what factors explain changes in Hispanic poverty since 1970?