Latinos are generally optimistic about the direction the country is taking in health care, equal opportunity and jobs, but they also feel that Latino discrimination is getting worse (36%) rather than better (22%), according to a survey conducted by Latino Decisions for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The study also finds broad optimism about economic opportunities that lie ahead, but that many Latino families are living in a state of economic fragility. In fact, 53% reported that they’d be unable to draw on a loan from family or friends should they fall upon tough economic times, and 53% could not secure a bank loan.
Perhaps as a result, the national issue that respondents are most concerned with regards creating more jobs and fixing the economy, with 23% selecting this as their top issue from a list of 12. Immigration reform and deportations (18%) is Latinos’ second-largest concern, followed by gun violence/gun control/crime/public safety (12%) and education/schools (9%).
The following provides some quick highlights from the various themes covered in the report.
Economy and Finances
- 51% of respondents feel that their personal finances have gotten a lot better (11%) or somewhat better (40%) during the past 5 years, but almost 4 in 10 feel they’ve gotten either somewhat (22%) or a lot (17%) worse. Those most likely to report better finances included respondents with income of at least $75k (73%), those aged 18-39 (60%), and men (54%).
- 73% are very (28%) or somewhat (45%) optimistic about the future of their finances and the opportunities that may lie ahead. Optimism is again highest among those aged 18-39 (81%) and with income of at least $75k (81%).
- 49% are very (26%) or somewhat (23%) worried that they or someone in their household might lose their job and become unemployed in the next year or so.
- 63% feel that childcare issues do not make their work situation difficult, although 29% do.
- Almost one-third describe their own health as excellent (11%) or very good (20%), with another 32% describing it as good.
- 49% visit a health provider regularly, and an additional 10% somewhat regularly.
- If they feel ill or sick, respondents are most likely to usually go to a doctor’s office or private clinic (53%), while 25% usually go to seek healthcare at a community health center or clinic.
- 8 in 10 have a healthcare provider that speaks Spanish or has a translator available.
- Asked how familiar they are with the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, fewer than half reported being very (15%) or somewhat (29%) familiar, and one-third say they’re not familiar at all with it.
- Three-quarters have health insurance.
The Latino Experience
- 54% feel that local police, border patrol and other law enforcement authorities usually (26%) or sometimes (28%) treat Latinos fairly, while 37% feel they’re usually treated unfairly.
- Two-thirds worry that police, border patrol or other law enforcement authorities will use excessive force against Latinos.
- 35% are very (7%) or somewhat (28%) satisfied with the federal government’s performance on immigration policy, outweighed by the 57% who are not very (25%) or not at all (32%) satisfied.
- Respondents are more likely to believe that English language media portrays Latinos in a generally negative (27%) rather than generally positive (15%) light. By comparison, they’re more likely to believe that Spanish-language media portrays them in a generally positive (38%) rather than generally negative (10%) light.
About the Data: Between September 19th and October 15, 2014, Latino Decisions interviewed one thousand Latino adults who reside in the United States. Respondents were evenly split by gender and by country of birth (US versus foreign-born). 7 in 10 are US citizens and 51% are 1st generation in the US. A majority 55% cited their country of origin as Mexico.