Hispanic
10
Jan

Why is U.S. Hispanic suicide rate so low?

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There is some good news and bad news about suicides in the U.S. Across the country, suicides have increased nearly 30 percent since the turn of the century. That’s the bad news.  But there’s good news for Hispanics, at least in California. Although Latinos face economic disadvantages and other stress in their lives, their suicide rate is less than one-third that of non-Hispanic whites, according to research compiled by Kaiser Health News

In California, the suicide rate for whites was 19 per 100,000 people in 2016, and the rate for Hispanics was 5.5 per 100,000, according to the state Department of Public Health. (Hispanics can be of any race.) The overall suicide rate in California in 2016 was 10.9 per 100,000.

Why?

Experts attribute the relatively low suicide rate among Latinos to the culture’s strong family and community support systems, which appear to bolster emotional resilience.

Latinos in California and across the U.S. face obstacles that can affect their health and well-being. They earn less than non-Hispanic whites, and are more likely to lack health insurance coverage. And recent immigrants face the stresses of moving to a new country, and, though there is no research to gauge how this affects them, an Administration hostile to immigration.

It’s practice of “colectivismo,” the or relationships built through extended family, work colleagues and friends, that gives Latinos an emotional safety net, experts say.

But that’s not the whole story. As Latinos become more assimilated, the more their risk of suicide goes up. A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that suicidal thoughts and attempts increased as Latinos spent more years in the U.S. and started losing fluency in Spanish and connections to Latino social networks and identity.

07
Jan

Moving beyond assumptions, Latino edition

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We’re always happy to report on multicultural research that someone else has done, especially when they’ve done it right. That is, a report that’s not just strung together observations and assumptions.

Gabriel Acevedo, sociology professor at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, told the Texas Standard radio show that political scientists and strategists to marketers, when trying to figure out how to reach Latinos don’t actually ASK Latinos directly about their preferences. And not surprisingly that leads to a pile of misconceptions. Acevedo just released the report “Latinos in America” based on responses from 2,500 self-identified Hispanic Latinos, and learned some things that marketers and demographers ought to know. And he did it by asking questions. Some of the key takeaways from the survey squash some myths – though surely not myths that those familiar with New American Dimensions hold – including:

- Evangelicals are not just suburban white Americans or rural Southern Americans. Rather, the highest share of self-proclaimed evangelicals is actually found among Latinos, not whites. The survey found that, while Latinos are still majority Catholic, a large and growing contingent are evangelicals.

- Dispelling the notion that White Americans are conservative, African Americans and Latinos are liberal, Acevedo found that many Latinos’ political support is up for grabs. They are not committed to either party.

The biggest conclusion, Acevedo told Texas Standard is that “Hispanic’ is a complicated term. I see many of you nodding your head in agreement.

“We know that, for instance, Cuban Americans in parts of South Florida, parts of New Jersey, are much more conservative Republican than maybe Puerto Rican Latinos living in New York City. That diversity within the Hispanic Latino community also gives this political diversity.” 

Acevedo added that Latinos, not unlike other American groups, tend to align their social and political views according to age cohort. That is, on hot button issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and gun control, Latino millennials are more likely to hold progressive views than their parents. Not shocking, of course, but you would be surprised at how many marketers are surprised by findings like this.

One thing the survey didn’t account for was generational status. That is, whether being first, second, or third generation affects the views of Hispanic Americans. But New American Dimensions has covered that topic. Nothing wrong with a little shameless self-promotion now and then.

(Photo credit: KUT)

15
Jan

U.S. Senate favors Whites

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It’s election season, and though three weeks is an eternity a picture of the upcoming midterms is beginning to emerge. The Blue Wave talked about for a year, may happen, but likely only in the House of Representatives. While it’s increasingly likely that the Democrats will flip the House, it’s also likely that Republicans could increase their advantage in the Senate, according to electoral number cruncher Nate Silver.

In the New York Times, David Leonhardt makes the case that the U.S. Senate is very unrepresentative of the nation as a whole. In short, it skews rural and white:

First, the states whose populations have grown the most over time, like California, Texas, Florida and New York, are racially diverse. By contrast, the smallest states, like Wyoming, Vermont, the Dakotas and Maine, tend to be overwhelmingly white. The Senate, as a result, gives far more special treatment to whites than it once did.

The second reason is even more frustrating, but it would also be easier to fix. Right now, about four million American citizens have almost no congressional voting power, not even the diluted power of Californians or Texans. Of these four million people — these citizens denied representative democracy — more than 90 percent are black or Hispanic.

His remedy for the second problem is to grant statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico. The District of Columbia, for the entire life of the nation, has had no Senate representation. D.C., by the way, was 51 percent black as per the 2010 census. That’s down from 70 percent in 1980. Five referenda have been held on statehood in Puerto Rico, most recently in 2017. The population of the island 2015 was over 3 million people. That’s larger than 21 states. With statehood, Puerto Rico might not have suffered from the terrible rescue and recovery efforts after hurricane Maria, efforts that FEMA admits were a failure.

17
Jan

Pew: Asians outnumber Hispanics among immigrants

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While the discussion over immigration, legal and illegal, devolves further into a cesspool of anti-hispanic rhetoric and tantrums over building a wall on our southern border, a shift in who is coming to the U.S. has been in effect for a few years. A recent Pew Research Center survey shows a long-term trend is continuing: that is, more Asians are migrating to the U.S. than Hispanics.

More than 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year. In 2016, the top country of origin for new immigrants coming into the U.S. was India, with 126,000 people, followed by Mexico (124,000), China (121,000) and Cuba (41,000).

By race and ethnicity, more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants have arrived in the U.S. each year since 2010. Immigration from Latin America slowed following the Great Recession, particularly from Mexico, which has seen net decreasesin U.S. immigration over the past few years.

Asians are projected to become the largest immigrant group in the U.S. by 2055, surpassing Hispanics. In 2065, Pew Research Center estimates indicate that Asians will make up some 38% of all immigrants; Hispanics, 31%; whites, 20%; and blacks, 9%.

But you don’t hear any anti-Indian or anti-Chinese rhetoric coming out of the President’s mouth or fast little twitter fingers. Not yet, anyway. And while there’s been no polling on it that we can see, it’s a safe bet that most Americans assume that the overwhelming majority of immigrants are coming from Mexico and Central America. There may be several reasons for this. First, the media, just by reporting utterances by the President (and others of his ilk) that the U.S. is being swamped by Hispanics/Latinos on the southern border, without pushing back, reinforces this myth.

And it is a myth. Perhaps it’s an undocumented issue, and far more immigrants from Mexico and Central America are undocumented than from elsewhere. Actually, no. Here, again, from Pew:

The number of apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border has sharply decreased over the past decade, from more than 1 million in fiscal 2006 to 408,870 in fiscal 2016. In the first two quarters of fiscal 2017, which started Oct. 1, there have been about 199,000 border patrol apprehensions at the Southwest border, compared with 186,000 for the same period in 2016. Today, more non-Mexicans than Mexicans are apprehended at the border. In fiscal 2016, the apprehensions of Central Americans at the border exceeded that of Mexicans for the second time on record.

Maybe Latino/Hispanic immigrants just have an image problem, made worse by rhetoric by the President (and others of his ilk). Because while nearly two thirds of Americans see immigrants as a boost, rather than a burden to the country, when you break down perceptions of the race of immigrants, the picture is different. From Pew:

Americans also hold more positive views of some immigrant groups than others, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center immigration report. More than four-in-ten Americans expressed mostly positive views of Asian (47%) and European immigrants (44%), yet only a quarter expressed such views of African and Latin American immigrants (26% each). Roughly half of the U.S. public said immigrants are making things better through food, music and the arts (49%), but almost equal shares said immigrants are making crime and the economy worse (50% each).

Interesting to note that Americans view immigration in general far more positively than they view any particular group of immigrants, even the most “popular” immigrant group, Asians. It would be fascinating to dig deeper into these attitudes and where they come from and how they’re reinforced.

There’s much more fascinating immigration data in the Pew report.

07
Jan

Fears of a Non-White Majority

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By now it’s clear that the current administration has whipped up fears – that were already there lurking under the surface – and, anger – about the decline of whites as a percentage of the U.S. population (and, by extension, the decline of white’s perceived cultural power). Witness that two weeks ago, just as Trump’s “fixer,” Michael Cohen, fingered his boss as an co-conspirator in a crime to get elected, the President’s fixation was about the Criminal Mexicans – his favorite refrain – coming across the border to kill white people. It just so happened that as Cohen was singing, it was learned that an undocumented worker had killed a woman in Iowa. Guess which was the top story on Fox news that week?

A New York Times opinion piece by the fantastic Thomas Edsall suggests that the rise of Trumpism came along at just the time when projections showed a declining white majority and a rising non-white population (the way these are phrased are important in how threatened people feel about these demographic changes, as it turns out).

Some of those I contacted suggested that only Trump and his fellow Republicans have the power to change the anti-immigrant, anti-minority tone of the political conversation. Nathan Kalmoe, a political scientist at Louisiana State University, argued, for example, that

“Politicians and other opinion leaders play an important role in helping citizens make sense of the threats and opportunities they face. I expect the views of many white Americans would shift if President Trump and other leaders who deploy ethnonationalist messages collectively changed their tune, at least in terms of attitude intensity and priority.”

In the highly unlikely event that that happened, “prejudices wouldn’t vanish, but they would be less politically potent for most people.” More realistically, Kalmoe wrote, “as long as prominent leaders continue to mobilize white fear and anger on the issue, citizens who trust them will follow.”

Having a leader with a more inclusive – and less incendiary – view of race and demographic changes in the U.S. would help to mitigate some of the anti-immigrant and anti-white animosity, but it wouldn’t completely erase it (Edsall doesn’t say that it would). It’s a problem we’ve been bumping up against for the entire history of what we call the U.S.

Edsall also surveys many other academics regarding demographic changes in the U.S., covering issues such as who identifies as white – a growing number of people with mixed heritage think of themselves as white – and whether the U.S. Census binary non-Hispanic white-minority division may be stoking the anxieties of whites fearful of a majority-minority America.

The bottom line is what I’ve been expressing for years: America has a race problem. What we’ve learned in the past three years is, a leader who tells white Americans “the other” coming to kill their daughters, take their jobs, take their prestige, only makes the problem worse.

Regarding the Iowa woman who was murdered, Mollie Tibbits, the family is fed up with anti-immigrant mouthpieces using her daughter’s murder to score political points, calling them “heartless and despicable” and racist. Where’s the reporting on that, Fox News?

22
Jan

U.S. Latino population growth slows, U.S. Asian population soars

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There are some unmistakable trends in the latest Pew Research Center Study, which analyzes U.S. Census Bureau data.

- Asian-American population is now the fastest growing segment of the U.S., overtaking the growth rate of U.S. Latinos.

- U.S. Hispanic population slowed, growing annually on average by only 2.8 percent between 2007 and 2014. In the years between 2000 and 20007, the rate was 4.4 percent.

- The Asian/American population has been growing at a steady 3.4 percent between 2007 and 2014.

- The growth rate of Asian/Americans was driven by increased immigration from Asian countries, especially from South Asia and China.

Pew had some conclusions about why this shift is happening. First is immigration: The Immigration rate from Latin America has slowed substantially compared to the highpoint of Latino immigration in the 1980s and 1990s (though you wouldn’t know that from the heated anti-immigrant political rhetoric). In fact immigration from Mexico has now reversed: there are now more people moving to Mexico from the U.S. than coming north.

Right now main driver of Latino population growth is U.S. births. But even there, a change is afoot. Throughout much of the early 2000s birth rates of Hispanic women ages 15 to 44 were about 95 births per 1,000 women, reaching a peak of 98.3 in 2006. However, since the onset of the Great Recession, their birth rates have declined, steadily falling to 72.1 births per 1,000 Latino/American women ages 15 to 44 in 2014.

Unlike Hispanic population growth, the growth of Asian-Americans is still driven by immigration. Since 2000, more immigrants were coming from Asia than from Latin America.

According to the U.S. Census, the Asian/American proportion of the total U.S. population is is around 6 percent. The largest ethnic groups represented in the census were Chinese (3.79 million), Filipino (3.41 million), Indian (3.18 million), Vietnamese (1.73 million), Korean (1.7 million), and Japanese (1.3 million).

22
Jan

Asian and Hispanic Americans less likely to vote

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CPS_race

Source: www.electionproject.org

Election 2016 is entering the home stretch (and not a minute too soon), and voters are going to be casting their votes by mail in some states in just a few weeks.

Hispanics and Asians could be crucial, and their percentage of the U.S. population is growing. This year  Hispanic and Asian voters will form 16% of the eligible voter pool, and will continue growing each year. But voter turnout rates among Hispanics and Asians is relatively low, according to Pew Research and the U.S. Elections Project.  In the 2012 presidential election, 64% of non-Hispanic white eligible voters cast ballots, as did 67% of black eligible voters. But the voter turnout rate was 48% among Hispanics and 47% among Asians.

One possible reason for lower registration (and turnout) rates among Hispanics is that they tend to be younger. In fact 44% of all Hispanic voters are millenials. But even that doesn’t explain it fully, because even among millenials, Hispanic/Asian registration trails significantly. Language barriers might be an issue. Also, Hispanic and Asian voters are concentrated in non-competitive states like New York and California and Texas. Or it may come down to the lack of a “family tradition” of voting in US elections.

We hope that more people who have the right to vote will do so. And from a demographic perspective, we would be fascinated to learn why Asian-Americans and Hispanics lag behind other groups in registration and voting habits.

25
Jan

Latino paradox: higher poverty but longer lives

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Despite nearly a quarter of U.S. Latinos living in poverty, the group as a whole has a higher average life expectancies than white Americans, who have a much lower poverty rate.

This article from Yes magazine has some theories as to why. It’s about Latino traditions of food, community and family bonds.

Author Claudia Kolker took a closer look at such cultural practices for her 2011 book, The Immigrant Advantage. Her book examines why immigrants are often healthier than native-born Americans—a question that continues to be explored. Some credit this perplexing phenomenon to the idea that immigrants must be healthy to migrate. Kolker’s research shows its connection to customs like Danza Azteca: close community bonds, traditional foods, and la cuarentena, a Latin American tradition in which a new mother rests for the first 40 days after giving birth, not lifting a finger except to breastfeed and bond with her child. Kolker also has a hunch that a lack of smoking is a factor, and other researchers agree.

But here’s another paradox. The healthier living advantage is primarily for recent immigrants.

U.S.-born Hispanics face higher prevalence rates for unhealthy behaviors than foreign-born Hispanics: a 72 percent higher smoking rate and a 30 percent higher obesity rate. They also have a 93 percent higher cancer rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Timothy Smith, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University, also has studied this scientific wonder and suggests that social bonds and culture do contribute to health. While more research is needed to know for sure, one thing is certain: American assimilation isn’t exactly healthy. “They’re adopting the local culture, which does have some adverse consequences,” he says. “There are positive consequences to health and adverse consequences.”

Read more about the paradox here.

18
Jan

Latin identity on the Presidential stage

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The 2016 election is fascinating and unprecedented for several reasons. One reason is that there are two Latinos running for the GOP nomination, and are considered to be favorites of the party establishment. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are both freshmen senators, both are of Cuban ancestry, and both are sons of immigrants (though they don’t favor an easy pathway to citizenship for newcomers).

But that’s where the similarities end as far as how they wear their cultural heritage. This New York Times piece says that in their approach to their Hispanic identities — traits that can make or break their success in courting both Latino and non-Latino voters — the two sharply diverge, starting with their names and how Ted Cruze chose to anglicize his name.

His preference for Ted, a suggestion from Mr. Cruz’s Irish-American mother, infuriated his father, Rafael, who in 1957 fled Cuba for Texas after being arrested and beaten by agents for Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban dictator. “He viewed it as a rejection of him and his heritage, which was not my intention,” Mr. Cruz wrote. For two years, his father refused to call him Ted. Today, Mr. Cruz serves as his son’s Spanish-speaking surrogate.

The name change is but one example of how Mr. Cruz has de-emphasized his Latino identity. Unlike Mr. Rubio, Mr. Cruz had only his father and a few relatives to connect him to the island, its language and traditions. Once his father became a born-again Christian, religion, not ethnicity, appeared to dominate the Cruz household.

“His approach to all the people with whom we interacted was who they were, not what they were,” said David K. Panton, Mr. Cruz’s former roommate at Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

On the stump, Mr. Cruz has embraced his Cuban father’s story, more for what it says about America than what it says about immigrants. His father fled Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear and worked as a dishwasher to help pay tuition at the University of Texas at Austin. “America, quite simply, saved my father,” Mr. Cruz wrote.

The story is a poignant one, but many Latinos have said it falls flat for one reason: The pride Mr. Cruz feels for his father is not one he extends to the larger immigrant community.

We would say to the GOP if they’re listening that they need to have a stronger understanding of the Latino communities in the U.S. There is a lot of talk in political circles about how Cruz or Rubio would attract Latinos just based on their roots. But the Latino community is hardly monolithic and, even more to the point, many Mexican-Americans could give a damn that a Cuban-American running for President.

If just having a Latino name on the ticket is the party’s idea of Latino outreach, they are going to be severely disappointed.

30
Jan

Why minority millennials can’t get ahead

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There’s a fascinating article in The Atlantic about the plight of minority millennials. Black and Latino millennials, specifically, are less likely to receive parental financial help, and more likely to give assistance to parents.

Recent polls indicate that a large portion of Millennials receive financial help from parents. At least 40 percent of the 1,000 Millennials (ages 18 to 34) polled in a March USA Today/Bank of America poll get help from parents on everyday expenses. A Clark University poll indicated an even higher number, with almost three-quarters of parents reporting that they provide their Millennial children with financial support. Another survey saw nearly a third of Baby Boomers paying for Millennials’ medical expenses. A quarter of Boomers subsidized “other expenses” so their Millennial offspring could save money. Black and Hispanic Americans are less likely to be the recipients of this type of support.

Ironically, even though black and Hispanic Millennials are less likely to receive financial support from parents, their parents are more likely than white parents to expect their kids to help financially support them later on.

We wonder if this survey will do anything to squash that meme that “if those lazy minorities would just work harder they’d succeed.” Safe money is on “no.”