Latino poverty rate falls but remains above U.S. average
The percentage of U.S. Latinos living in poverty has dropped significantly in the last decade but is well above the national average.
Why it matters: Latinos make up 19% of the population and are set to be a plurality of the country's population by midcentury. Failure to address systemic economic inequalities may act as a drag on the nation's future prosperity, some experts say.
By the numbers: According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, 16.8% of Latinos — 10 million — nationally lived in poverty in 2022.
- That's well above the nation's overall poverty rate of 11.5%, but below what the Latino rate was in 2012 — more than 25%.
- Alabama has the highest share of Latinos who live in poverty (nearly 28%), according to an Axios analysis of census data.
- Montana was second (24.2%) followed by Pennsylvania (23.9%).
- North Dakota, which also has many oil and gas jobs — and which saw the fastest Hispanic population growth of any state over the last decade — had a Latino poverty rate of 12.5%.
Zoom in: The percentage of Latinos in poverty hovered around 22% for much of the 1970s but shot up to 29% in the 1980s as the population kept growing.
- It hit its highest mark in modern times in 1994 — 30.7% — following the recession of the early 1990s and a spike in new migration from Mexico after the Mexican peso devaluation crisis.
- Latinos in recent years have significantly grown their workforce participation rate and graduated from college in higher numbers, helping drive the decrease in the Hispanic poverty rate.
What they're saying: Addressing poverty is one of the most pressing issues facing Hispanics in the U.S., says José Jurado Vadillo a research economist at Seidman Institute, Arizona State University, tells Axios.
Subscribe to Axios Latino to get vital news about Latinos and Latin America, delivered to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays.