Graduate Center Report Finds Latinos in NYC Experienced Decline in Poverty Rates Compared to Overall US Trends; Yet Latinos Register Highest Rates of Poverty in City

November 19, 2013

Graduate Center Report Finds Latinos in NYC Experienced Decline in Poverty Rates Compared to Overall US Trends; Yet Latinos Register Highest Rates of Poverty in City


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Graduate Center Report Finds Latinos in NYC Experienced Decline in Poverty Rates Compared to Overall US Trends; Yet Latinos Register Highest Rates of Poverty in City

NYC Mexicans and Dominicans have highest poverty rates among Latino subgroups


NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2013 -- The Graduate Center (GC), City University of New York, released two reports today which reflect that Latinos in New York City have experienced a long-term decline in poverty rates from 1990 to 2011, despite a short-term increase in poverty as a result of the 2008 economic recession.

The Trends in Poverty Rates Study Among Latinos report also finds that while nationally the poverty rates among Latinos were lower than among non-Hispanic blacks, Latinos had the highest poverty rates in New York City and within each borough, with the exception of Staten Island. Poverty rates among all racial/ethnic groups in the City increased because of the 2007 economic crisis, and no rates have recovered to their pre-recession poverty rates.

These trends are borne out by an overall decline in Latino median household income in New York City, which fell by -3.6 percent during the 1990-2011 period, according to the second report, titled Trends in Median Household Income. The report from the GC's Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies provides a more precise examination of the impact of the recession on median household income through an analysis of data collected between 2005 and 2011 that indicated a 5.5 percent decrease in median income.

These data revealed that median household income fell among all of the City's racial/ethnic groups. The total population experienced a decline of5.6 percent. For Latinos there was a decrease of 5.5 percent between 2005 and 2011, compared with 2.4 percent among non-Hispanic whites, 2.2 percent for non-Hispanic blacks, and 7.4 percent for the City's Asian population.

"It is apparent in New York City, Latino median household income fell in every borough during 1990 to 2011,
 said Laird Bergad, a distinguished professor of history at the Graduate Center and director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies. "These data suggest that while Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard and Poor's 500 Index were enjoying near record highs, the levels of economic well-being of the vast majority of New York City's population was either stagnant or declining during the same period."

One striking conclusion from the poverty trends report revealed that when data on Latinos are broken down by national origin groups, Mexicans and Dominicans clearly had higher poverty rates in both the U.S. and New York City than Puerto Ricans, Colombians, and Ecuadorians. In New York City and the U.S., Mexicans and Dominicans may also have fared worse in response to the economic crisis. These findings may be partly attributed to migration patterns.

The influx of foreign-born Mexican migrants with poorer skill levels and lower educational attainment profiles may have contributed to higher poverty rates and a greater reaction to the 2007-2009 economic downturn. This may have been the case among New York City's Dominicans as well, who continued to arrive in significant numbers after 2000.

"Latinos may have been more impacted by the 2007 economic downturn than other ethnic and racial groups," said Justine Calcagno, the report author and a Graduate Center Ph.D. candidate. "But New York City's growing Mexican population experienced a very stark 23.1 percentage decline in median household income, a dramatic drop-off of income, exceeding all other Latino subgroups in the City."

The Median Income and Poverty Trends reports for all years considered here were based on the American Community Survey PUMS (Public Use Microdata Series) data for all years considered here released by the Census Bureau and reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa, See Public Use Microdata Series, Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Matthew B. Schroeder, and Matthew Sobek. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 5.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010.

About the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies
The Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies is a research institute that works for the advancement of the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the United States in the doctoral programs at the CUNY Graduate Center. One of its major priorities is to provide funding and research opportunities to Latino students at the Ph.D. level. The Latino Data Project was developed with the goal of making information available on the dynamically growing Latino population of the United States and especially New York City through the analysis of extant data available from a variety of sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Institutes of Health, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and state and local-level data sources.

About the Graduate Center, CUNY
The Graduate Center (GC) is the principal doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York. Offering more than thirty doctoral degrees from Anthropology to Urban Education, and fostering globally significant research in a wide variety of centers and institutes, the GC affords rigorous academic training in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences in a Ph.D.-focused, scholarly environment. It is home to a core faculty of approximately 150 teachers and mentors, virtually all senior scholars, and many leaders in their disciplines. This faculty is enhanced by more than 1,800 faculty from across the CUNY colleges, as well as from cultural, academic, and scientific institutions throughout New York City and beyond. Through its extensive public programs including lectures, conferences, performances, exhibitions, and conversations, the Graduate Center contributes to the intellectual and cultural life of New York City and affirms our commitment to the premise that knowledge is a public good.