Latinos still feeling effects of recession

A new poll of Latino registered voters finds that over half of Latino households continue to be worried about unemployment, even as economists declare the recession is long over.  A poll released today by the National Council of La Raza and Latino Decisions uncovers that Latino voters are still facing considerable economic challenges.  At the same time, Latinos continue to believe in the idea of the American Dream, and think the government should play a role in helping families achieve economic stability.

Overall, just 37% of Latino voters say their personal finances have gotten better over the past five years, compared to 25% who say things have actually gotten worse, and 37% who say things have stayed the same.  What’s more, a very large percentage of Latino households continue to worry about unemployment, foreclosure and having enough to pay their monthly bills.  53% say they are very or somewhat concerned that someone in their household will lose their job and face unemployment.  Likewise, 50% said that during the past year, they worried they would not have enough to pay their monthly bills on multiple occasions.  Finally, one-third of Latino voters said they were worried that they might lose their home to foreclosure due to economic challenges.  While economists like Christine Lagarde of the IMF declare that “a meaningful rebound in U.S. economic activity is now underway, and we expect growth to exceed potential over the next few quarters,” the rebound has not been felt by all segments of the American public.

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[Full slide deck here]

While these economic challenges linger, Latinos are still optimistic about achieving the American Dream.  And according to Latino voters, two key components of the American Dream are owning a home, and owning your own business.  And foreign born Latinos are even more likely to agree with the ideals of home and business ownership.  Overall, 53% of all Latino voters, and 58% of immigrants agree home ownership is a principle of the American Dream, while 61% of all Latino voters, and 68% of immigrants agree that owning your own business is part of the American Dream.  In addition, nearly all Latinos cite creating better opportunities for our children, and being treated equally, no matter your background as key components of the American Dream.  Home and business ownership in particular are important to economic success in the Latino community.

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The NCLR/Latino Decisions poll found barriers exist for many Latinos in achieving the American Dream today.  When it comes to the job market, 67% of Latinos are concerned that they don’t earn enough at work to pay their basic expenses.  Likewise, 65%  are concerned that their job does not provide opportunities for career advancement.  Being stuck in low-wage jobs with little opportunity for job growth is a considerable challenge to economic stability and success today.  Not surprisingly, by a very wide margin Latinos say they are more likely to vote for a politician who supports an increase in the minimum wage.

Further, Latino voters want to see more outreach, information and policies geared towards improving home ownership possibilities. 86% of Latino voters think the government should provide tax credits for homeowners, while 84% say the government should back programs that make home mortgages easier to obtain.  An additional 84% support government policies to provide homeownership counseling and education to make owning a home a reality for Latinos.

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About the poll

Latino Decisions interviewed 500 Latino registered voters, in a national survey conducted by landline, cell phone and online panel.  Respondents were given chance to take survey in either English or Spanish, and final demographics are weighted to match exact characteristics of Latino registered voters per the Census ACS.  Survey was in the field July 5-11, 2014.  Poll was conducted on behalf of National Council of La Raza, with support from Univision.  For questions about the poll, please contact Ricky Garza (202) 776-1732; rgarza@nclr.org

 

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