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Latino Children and Families

Latino children, youth, and families are a large, fast-growing, diverse – and largely understudied — segment of the U.S. population. Latinos represent 16 percent of our nation’s population and 25 percent of our public elementary students. Child Trends explores an array of topics focusing on Latino children and families, including teen pregnancy and other aspects of reproductive health; early childhood development; positive youth development; family formation; effective programs; and indicators related to child well-being. We provide a range of research services from literature reviews, survey design, data analysis, evaluation, and qualitative research.

To help inform how programs and policy can better serve Hispanic children and families, Child Trends and Abt Associates are pleased to announce the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, funded by the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, Administration of Children & Families. The Center is made up of a strong team of national experts in Hispanic issues, and is a hub of research to improve the lives of Hispanics across three priority areas: poverty reduction and self-sufficiency, healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood, and early care and education. Read more about the Center and its Summer Research Fellowship Program.

Featured Publications

The Changing Geography of Hispanic Children and Families

Jan 2016 | Kimberly Turner; Elizabeth Wildsmith; Lina Guzman; Marta Alvira-Hammond

The communities in which Hispanics live are increasingly diverse, both in location and character. The characteristics of these communities have implications for the well-being of Hispanic children and families, both positive and negative (e.g., access to healthy food and green space, exposure to violence, and more). In this brief, we review the changing geography of Hispanics in the United States and discuss the key demographic drivers of these changes.

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Low and Stable Income: Comparisons Among Hispanic Children, From 2004 Through the Period Following the Great Recession

Dec 2015 | Lisa Gennetian; Christopher Rodrigues; Heather D. Hill; Pamela A. Morris

This brief explores income instability among Hispanic children in the context of dramatic shifts in the economic and employment circumstances of U.S. households during the Great Recession. This question is explored as a companion to the brief entitled “Income Instability in the Lives of Hispanic Children,” using data from periods that roughly correspond to the pre- and near post-recession periods to examine income stability experienced by Hispanic children over time. Specifically, we compare Hispanic children’s experiences of unstable income over the 2004 to 2006 period with experiences of unstable income from 2008 to 2011, that represents the period during and just following the Great Recession.

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Income Instability in the Lives of Hispanic Children

Dec 2015 | Lisa Gennetian; Christopher Rodrigues; Heather D. Hill; Pamela Morris

Recent estimates suggest that differences in the amount of income instability (the amount of fluctuation in income, measured monthly) between the highest- and lowest-income households with children has increased nearly five-fold from 1984 to 2010, with the lowest-income households becoming less income stable. In this research brief, we take a close look at poverty and income instability among Hispanic children and compare their experiences with those of non-Hispanic children. This brief focuses on the following questions: Do experiences of income instability differ for Hispanic versus non-Hispanic children overall? Do these experiences differ for lower-income as compared to higher-income Hispanic and non-Hispanic children? Does income instability differ by Hispanic children’s select household and demographic characteristics?

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How Hispanic Parents Perceive Their Need and Eligibility for Public Assistance

Dec 2015 | Marta Alvira-Hammond; Lisa Gennetian

Public assistance programs aim to provide support to low-income children and families, and help them attain or regain economic self-sufficiency. Despite high levels of poverty, Hispanics/Latinos are less likely than members of other racial/ethnic groups to participate in some public assistance programs. Although the reasons for this are not fully understood, we do know that Hispanic families, and particularly immigrant families, face a number of unique obstacles to accessing public assistance. Using national data, this brief describes reasons low- to middle-income Hispanic parents reported for not applying for public assistance or, for those already receiving assistance, not applying for additional assistance.

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