Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record

The spread of poverty across the United States that began at the onset of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and accelerated last year hit one fast-growing demographic group especially hard: Latino children. More Latino children are living in poverty — 6.1 million in 2010 — than children of any other racial or ethnic group. This marks the first time in U.S. history that the single largest group of poor children is not white. In 2010, 37.3% of poor children were Latino, 30.5% were white and 26.6% were black.

This negative milestone for Hispanics is a product of their growing numbers, high birth rates and declining economic fortunes. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hispanics today make up a record 16.3% of the total U.S. population. But they comprise an even larger share (23.1%) of the nation’s children, a disparity driven mainly by high birth rates among Hispanic immigrants.

Of the 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty, more than two-thirds (4.1 million) are the children of immigrant parents. The other 2 million are the children of parents born in the U.S. Among the 4.1 million impoverished Latino children of immigrants, the vast majority (86.2%) were born in the U.S.

Even though there are more Latino children in poverty than any other racial or ethnic group, the poverty rate among black children is the nation’s highest. In 2010, 39.1% of black children lived in poverty, compared to 35% of Latino children and 12.4% of white. Since 2007, however, poverty rates among Latino children have increased more than any other racial or ethnic group. Between 2007 and 2010, the Latino child poverty rate increased 6.4 percentage points. In comparison, the poverty rate increased 4.6 percentage points for black children and 2.3 percentage points among white children. Read More