Hispanic immigrant poverty is nearly double that of other immigrants. Furthermore, poverty rates among Hispanic families differ substantially by ethnicity. This paper analyzes poverty rates for Hispanic and non-Hispanic immigrants, and also for individual Hispanic ethnic groups, to determine the relative importance of different covariates of poverty. The general conclusion is that low levels of education and fluency in English contribute to high Hispanic poverty rates and are also contributing factors to differences in poverty among Hispanic ethnic groups. In particular, the high poverty rate of Mexican immigrant households is associated with the low educational attainments of household heads, along with a relatively large number of children, relatively low English fluency and a relatively short tenure in the U.S. Immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador have substantially lower poverty rates than Mexican immigrants despite a similar constellation of observable traits. Immigrants from South America have low poverty rates, largely due to strong family work effort and high educational attainments. The relatively low family work effort and high incidence of single parent families among Puerto Ricans overpowers the beneficial effects of higher rates of citizenship and English fluency.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2008
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