An Economic Portrait of Low-Income Hispanic Families: Key Findings from the First Five Years of Studies from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families

Publication Date:

September 20, 2019

Most Hispanic children under age 18 (57 percent) lived in poor or near-poor households in 2017—that is, households with income less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Growing up in poverty presents risks to children’s development and overall well-being. Collectively, the findings synthesized here offer a portrait of the economic life of Hispanic families that highlights ways in which the experiences of Hispanic families with low incomes differ from those of their non-Hispanic peers, and point to ways in which policy and programs can help support their economic well-being.

This synthesis covers key findings from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families’  first five years (2013–2018) regarding Hispanic families’ economic well-being, including parents’ employment and the characteristics of their jobs; the prevalence and level of poverty experienced by Hispanic families; the stability (or lack thereof) in household income; families’ use of public assistance programs; and (because work, income, and policy shape family time) parents’ investment of time in their children. To better understand how the experiences of Hispanics might differ from other demographics, many of the findings describe comparisons between Hispanic families and children and their non-Hispanic white and black peers. When feasible, findings also describe how the economic experiences of Hispanic families varied by whether a parent was born in the United States. Data for the findings described here were drawn from large, nationally representative data, including the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), and the American Community Survey (ACS). One goal of the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families is to advance the field’s understanding of the socioeconomic context of Hispanic children and families who live in poor or low-income households to inform programs and services designed to support their economic self-sufficiency and socioeconomic mobility.

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