The Impact (and the Politics) of the Recession on the Latino Community

Earlier this week, I blogged about a new report from the Pew Research Center that stated that Latinos have been hit the hardest by the recession. I wanted to offer some additional data, and points of view, to better understand the financial and political impact of this recession on the Hispanic community.

At Daily Grito, various Latino bloggers chimed in on their thoughts on the new Pew Research –  “Daily Grito Writers Sound Off on Impact of the Recession on the Latino Community.”

Reporting on the new data, PBS NewsHour interviews Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center. When asked about future of the economy and the impact on the Latino community, Taylor responds: “…Looking forward in the near term, there is not a lot of prospect for hope if you are concerned at the economic fortunes of minority communities in this country.

Daniel Costa at the Huffington Post has some interesting analysis to better understand the economic data. He writes:

When multiplying this mean (i.e. average) loss of wealth by the total number of Latino households in the country, I calculate approximately a $660 billion loss in wealth for Latinos. This amount of wealth lost by Latinos as a result of the recession is $137 billion greater than the entire GDP of Switzerland, and if Latino lost wealth were a country, it would be the 19th richest in the world.

Other statistics further illustrate how the housing crash has impacted Latinos. First, “[a]ccording to the Pew Research survey, 33 percent of Hispanic homeowners report being underwater, compared with 15 percent of blacks and 13 percent of whites.” And second, according to the Center for Responsible Lending, between 2007 and 2009, approximately 8 percent of Latinos lost their homes to foreclosure, and 21.4 percent are likely to be at “imminent risk of foreclosure.” This makes perfect sense when considering that the five states that suffered the biggest drop in home prices between 2005 and 2009 — Nevada, Florida, Arizona, California and Michigan — were states with significant Latino populations. In fact, the drop in median net worth for Latinos in these five states was nothing short of disastrous:

For Hispanics in these five states, median net worth tumbled from $51,464 in 2005 to $6,375 in 2009, a loss of 88 percent. For Hispanics residing outside of these five states, median net worth fell from $11,853 to $6,200, or by 48 percent.Two additional factors conspired to cause the precipitous drop in net worth for Latinos. The first and perhaps more important factor, because it directly leads to the second, is the sharp increase in the unemployment rate and joblessness for Latinos. The Latino unemployment rate more than doubled from the end of 2007 to 2009, growing from 5.9 percent to 12.6 percent. A year and a half later, Latino unemployment has dropped just a percentage point, standing at 11.6 percent as of June 2011.”

An interesting point is that the states hardest hit by the recession are also major swing states, including Nevada and Florida. With their large Latino populations, it is further proof, that in 2012 the only issue that matters is the economy. It will transcend age, race, culture, language and every other demographic category. All Americans want a better economy.

Who do you think this data will impact the 2012 election?

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