Poverty Among
Hispanic/Latino Residents

You are viewing the Poverty Among Hispanic/Latino Residents subsection of the Race section of the Forsyth County Poverty Study. Click here to return to the Race Landing Page. Click here to return to the table of contents.
This section provides a summary of analyses of risk factors for poverty studied by Forsyth Futures as a part of the Forsyth County Poverty Study that may contribute to high poverty rates for Hispanic/Latino residents.  Hispanic/Latino residents in Forsyth County have a poverty rate that is more than four times as high as that of White, non-Hispanic residents and higher than that of African American residents.  This racial disparity in poverty rates persists even when considering various risk factors for poverty such as employment, education, family type, etc. 
No one factor examined in this report can completely explain the high poverty rate of Hispanic/Latino residents, and there may be other factors influencing this disparity that Forsyth Futures did not study due to unavailable or limited data.  For a list of the types of factors that were not included in this analysis, click here. Additionally, some of the measurements used in the report have large margins of error, which makes measuring smaller differences between groups difficult. Data with lower margins of error might produce different results. 

Important Links

Data 101
Data Gloassary
Methodology
About this Study
Executive Summary
Key Findings

Core Concepts

This section examines risk factors that are more prevalent among Hispanic/Latino residents than at least one other race/ethnicity. These risk factors may partially explain the high poverty rate among Hispanic/Latino residents.
  • Some common risk factors among Hispanic/Latino residents are rarely found among residents of other races/ethnicities.
  • Hispanic/Latino residents are exposed to every examined risk factor at a higher rate than White, non-Hispanic residents.
  • Hispanic/Latino residents are exposed to some risk factors at a higher rate than residents of all other races/ethnicities.
  • No individual risk factor can fully explain the high poverty rate of Hispanic/Latino residents. 

Nativity and English Fluency

Roughly 70% of Hispanic/Latino residents are either foreign-born adults or the minor children of foreign-born adults (1).  As a result, the issues associated with being foreign born, such as English fluency and education (2), may directly or indirectly affect the majority of the Hispanic/Latino population. Community members and representatives from community organizations have suggested that undocumented immigrants are at a higher risk of living in poverty.  However, the census does not determine whether foreign-born residents are legal residents.
English fluency is measured at the household level using linguistic isolation, a measure that identifies households in which no one over the age of 13 is fluent in English as being linguistically isolated. While linguistic isolation is an obstacle among many foreign-born residents, it seems to be particularly prevalent among Hispanic/Latino residents. Linguistic isolation may partially contribute to high poverty rates among Hispanic/Latino residents, but cannot fully explain them because racial disparities in poverty persist even among residents who are not living in linguistic isolation.  
Figure 1: Age by Nativity for Hispanic/Latino Residents in Forsyth County, 2010 - 2014

Figure 1 suggests that the foreign-born Hispanic/Latino population and their children represent a large portion of the Hispanic/Latino population as a whole.
  • About half of the Hispanic/Latino population is foreign born.
  • The vast majority of native-born Hispanic/Latino residents are children.  According to a separate analysis, 90% of these native-born Hispanic/Latino children have foreign-born parents, and 70% of Hispanic/Latino residents are either foreign-born adults or their minor children (1).
  • Foreign-born residents can face obstacles in education and fluency, which place them at higher risk of poverty (2). 
  • The characteristics of Hispanic/Latino residents have a greater impact on poverty among children than among the population as a whole.  Hispanic/Latino residents represent roughly 15% of residents in Forsyth County; however, Hispanic/Latino residents are more likely to live in poverty and more likely to be children than other races/ethnicities.  As a result, Hispanic/Latino residents represent about 25% of residents under 18 and 45% of residents under 18 living in poverty (1).  

Figure 2: Linguistic Isolation for Residents Age 18-64 by Nativity and Ethnicity in Forsyth County, 2010-2014
A household lives in linguistic isolation if no one in the household over the age of 13 speaks English exclusively or speaks English “very well.”
Figure 2 demonstrates that both foreign-born and native-born Hispanic/Latino residents have higher rates of linguistic isolation than their non-Hispanic/Latino counterparts.
  • More than a third of foreign-born Hispanic/Latino residents live in linguistic isolation.  
  • While there are many foreign-born non-Hispanic residents who live in linguistic isolation, foreign-born, Hispanic/Latino residents are roughly three times as likely to live in linguistic isolation.
  • Linguistic isolation is a problem for both foreign- and native-born Hispanic/Latino residents.  In contrast, less than 1% of native-born, non-Hispanic residents live in linguistic isolation.

Income and Employment Status

Hispanic/Latino residents have a lower median income and higher unemployment rates than White, non-Hispanic residents.  Additionally, employed Hispanic/Latino residents are more likely to work part time than residents of other races/ethnicities.  These disparities could contribute to the high poverty rate of Hispanic/Latino residents, but cannot fully explain it because racial disparities in poverty persist even when comparing residents with the same employment status. 
Figure 3: Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity of Householder in Forsyth County, 2014
Figure 3 shows that the median income of Hispanic/Latino residents is just over half the median income of White, non-Hispanic residents. 
Figure 4: Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity in Forsyth County, 2010-2014
Figure 4 shows that the unemployment rate for Hispanic/Latino residents is higher than that of White, non-Hispanic residents.   
Data for the Hispanic/Latino population have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution. 
Figure 5: Percent of Employed Residents Working Part-Time by Race/Ethnicity, 2010 - 2014
Figure 5 shows that employed Hispanic/Latino residents are more likely to work part time (and less likely to work full time) than employed residents of other races/ethnicities. 
Data for Hispanic/Latino residents have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution.  
Figure 6: Percent of Residents in Poverty by Employment Status and Race/Ethnicity in Forsyth County, 2010-2014
As shown in Figure 6, employment status alone cannot explain high poverty among Hispanic/Latino residents.
  • Employed Hispanic/Latino residents are three times as likely to be in poverty as employed White, non-Hispanic residents and twice as likely to be in poverty as employed African American residents.
  • Racial disparities in poverty rates are so great that employed Hispanic/Latino residents are about as likely to be in poverty as unemployed White, non-Hispanic residents.
Data for unemployed Hispanic/Latino residents have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution.

Education

Hispanic/Latino residents have lower levels of educational attainment than other races/ethnicities. This could partially explain high poverty rates in the Hispanic/Latino population, but education alone cannot explain racial disparities in poverty rates.
Figure 7: Educational Attainment of Residents 25 and Over by Race/Ethnicity in Forsyth County, 2014
Figure 7 indicates that Hispanic/Latino residents have lower levels of educational attainment than other races/ethnicities.  Hispanic/Latino residents are over five times as likely to have less than a high school diploma and a third as likely to have a post-secondary degree, as White, non-Hispanic residents.
Figure 8: Poverty Rates by Education and Race/Ethnicity of Residents 25 and Older in Forsyth County, 2010-2014
Figure 8 shows that education alone cannot explain high poverty rates among Hispanic/Latino residents.
  • Poverty rates for Hispanic/Latino residents are roughly twice as high as those of White, non-Hispanic residents with the same level of educational attainment. 
  • These disparities are so great that Hispanic/Latino residents with post-secondary degrees have similar poverty rates to White, non-Hispanic residents with a high school diploma or equivalent or some college.

Data for post-secondary degree have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution. 

Family Characteristics

Hispanic/Latino residents are younger and their families are larger than those of other races/ethnicities.  Hispanic/Latino households are also less likely to be headed by a married couple or to have access to a car than those of White, non-Hispanic households.  These disparities could contribute to the high poverty rate of Hispanic/Latino residents, but cannot fully explain it.  Racial disparities in poverty rates persist even when comparing residents with the same exposure to each of these risk factors.  
Figure 9: Family Type by Race/Ethnicity, 2010-2014
As illustrated in Figure 9, Hispanic/Latino households with children are less likely to be headed by married couples than White, non-Hispanic households.
Data for African American and Hispanic/Latino single-male-headed households have a high level of variance and should be interpreted with caution.
Figure 10: Poverty Rates by Family Status and Race/Ethnicity, 2010-2014
Figure 10 shows that family status does not have the same relationship to poverty among Hispanic/Latino residents as is found in other races/ethnicities.  
  • African American and White, non-Hispanic families with children headed by a male householder with no wife present are at least twice as likely to live in poverty as families headed by married couples. 
  • In contrast, Hispanic/Latino families with children have similar poverty rates whether they are headed by a married couple or a male householder with no wife present. 

Figure 11: Lack of Vehicle Access by Race/Ethnicity, 2010-2014
Figure 11 indicates that Hispanic/Latino households are more likely to lack access to vehicles than White, non-Hispanic households. A separate analysis has associated lack of vehicle access with high poverty rates (1), and representatives from community organizations noted that lack of vehicle access can be a barrier to escaping poverty.  
Figure 12: Median Age by Race/Ethnicity, 2010-2014
Figure 12 shows that the median age of Hispanic/Latino residents is about 20 years younger than White, non-Hispanic residents.  Younger residents tend to have higher poverty rates, as is shown in a separate analysis, indicating that age could contribute to high poverty rates among Hispanic/Latino residents.
Figure 13: Average Size of Households by Race/Ethnicity, 2014 

Figure 13 indicates that Hispanic/Latino residents, on average, live in larger households that would have greater financial needs than residents of other races/ethnicities.
  • Poverty calculations assume that larger families need higher incomes, so higher required incomes due to larger family sizes among Hispanic/Latinos could contribute to their high poverty rates.
  • Hispanic/Latino residents live in households that are typically a little over one person larger than those of White, non-Hispanic residents.  This difference in size translates roughly to a $5,000 increase in annual income required to be considered to be in poverty (3).


Housing

Residents are at higher risk of future poverty if they have fewer assets (4), high housing expenses (5-6), or if they live in locations with high poverty rates (7-9). Homeownership is used in this report as a proxy for asset ownership.
Unlike other risk factors explored in this study, these housing-related risk factors have a delayed impact on poverty. The data used in this study does not describe how long residents have rented or owned their homes or how long they have experienced burdensome housing costs.  These past housing characteristics may have impacted current poverty rates, just as current housing characteristics may contribute to future poverty among Hispanic/Latino residents.
Figure 14: Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity in Forsyth County, 2014
As Figure 14 shows, Hispanic/Latino households are less likely to own their homes than White, non-Hispanic households, indicating that they may have less access to financial assets than White, non-Hispanic households. 

Figure 15: Housing-Cost Burden by Race/Ethnicity in Forsyth County, 2014
Housing expenses that are at least 30% of household income are considered burdensome and can create financial strain, which makes poverty more likely in the future (5-6).
As Figure 15 demonstrates, Hispanic/Latino households are more likely to have burdensome housing expenses than White, non-Hispanic households. 
Figure 16: Percent of Residents Living in Concentrated Poverty by Race/Ethnicity, 2010-2014
Residents living in locations of concentrated poverty, defined in this report as census tracts with poverty rates over 40%, are more likely to be in poverty in the future regardless of whether they are in poverty themselves (7-9). 
As seen in Figure 16, Hispanic/Latino residents are more than seven times as likely to live in locations of concentrated poverty as White, non-Hispanic residents. 

Christopher Webb, MPP
Christopher is a Data and Research Analyst with Forsyth Futures.  He performs statistical analysis and programming to support work on community issues in Forsyth County. 
He holds a Master's in Public Policy from American University and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Business.
If you have questions or comments about the data presented in this section, please contact Christopher at Christopher@ForsythFutures.org or by phone at 336.701.1700 ext. 108.

References


Tabular References

Figures 1-2, 5-6, 8, 10: U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). 2010-2014 5-year public use microdata samples (PUMS) [Data Files]. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/data/pums.html
Figure 3: U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Median income in the past 12 months: Table S1903 [ Data files from ACS 1-year estimates for the year 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_1YR_S1903&prodType=table
Figure 4: U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Employment status: Table S2301 [Data files from ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_S2301&prodType=table
Figure 7(a): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Sex by educational attainment for the population 25 years and over (black or African American alone):  Table B15002B [Data files ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B15002B&prodType=table
Figure 7(b): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Sex by educational attainment for the population 25 years and over (white alone, not Hispanic or Latino): Table B15002H [Data files ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B15002H&prodType=table
Figure 7(c): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Sex by educational attainment for the population 25 years and over (Hispanic or Latino):  Table B15002I [Data files ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B15002I&prodType=table
Figure 9(a): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months of families by family type by presence of related children under 18 years by age of related children (black or African American alone householder): Table B17010B [Data files ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B17010B&prodType=table
Figure 9(b): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months of families by family type by presence of related children under 18 years by age of related children (white alone, not Hispanic or Latino householder): Table B17010H [Data files ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B17010H&prodType=table
Figure 9(c): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months of families by family type by presence of related children under 18 years by age of related children (Hispanic or Latino): Table B17010I [Data files ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B17010I&prodType=table
Figure 11(a): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Sex by age (black or African American alone householder): Table B01001B [Data files ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B01001B&prodType=table
Figure 11(b): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Sex by age (white alone, not Hispanic or Latino householder): Table B01001H [Data files ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B01001H&prodType=table
Figure 11(c): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Sex by Age (Hispanic or Latino): Table B01001I [Data files ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010-2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B01001I&prodType=table
Figures 13, 15: US Department of Commerce. (2015). 2014 1-year public use microdata samples (PUMS) [Data Files]. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/data/pums.html
Figure 14(a): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Tenure (Black or African American alone householder): Table B25003B [Data files ACS 1-year estimates for the years 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B25003B&prodType=table
Figure 14(b): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Tenure  (white alone, not Hispanic or Latino householder): Table B25003H [Data files ACS 1-year estimates for the years 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B25003H&prodType=table
Figure 14(c): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Tenure  (Hispanic or Latino): Table B25003I [Data files ACS 1-year estimates for the years 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B25003I&prodType=table
Figure 16(a): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months by age (Black or African American Alone): Table B17020B [ Data files from ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010 - 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_51YR_B17020B&prodType=table
Figure 16(b): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months by age (White alone, not Hispanic or Latino): Table B17020H [ Data files from ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010 - 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_51YR_B17020H&prodType=table
Figure 16(c): U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty status in the past 12 months by age (Hispanic or Latino): Table B17020I [ Data files from ACS 5-year estimates for the years 2010 - 2014]. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B17020I&prodType=table

Literature References


  1. Forsyth Futures analysis. Contact Christopher Webb at christopher@forsythfutures.org for more information. 
  2. U.S. Department of Commerce. (2015). Poverty thresholds – 2014 [Data File]. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/income-poverty/historical-poverty-thresholds.html
  3. Cramer, R. & Shanks, T. (2014). The assets perspective: The rise of asset building and its impact on social policy. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  4. Desmond, M. (2015). Forced relocation and residential instability among urban renters. Social Science Review, June 2015, 227-262. 
  5. Desmond, M. (2015). Unaffordable America: Poverty, housing, and eviction. Retrieved from: https://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/fastfocus/pdfs/FF22-2015.pdf
  6. Kneebone, E., Nadeau, C., & Berube, A. (2011). The re-emergence of concentrated poverty. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-re-emergence-of-concentrated-poverty-metropolitan-trends-in-the-2000s
  7. Rothwell, J. (2014). The neighborhood effect: Localities and upward mobility.  Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2014/11/12/the-neighborhood-effect-localities-and-upward-mobility
  8. Sharkey, P. (2009). Neighborhoods and the black-white mobility gap. Retrieved from http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/reports/economic_mobility/pewsharkeyv12pdf.pdf