Hispanics Say They Have the Worst of a Bad Economy

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A majority of Latinos (54 percent) believe that the economic downturn that began in 2007 has been harder on them than on other groups in America, according to a new national survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

Large shares of Hispanics report that they or someone in their household has been out of work in the past year (59 percent); that their personal finances are in "only fair" or "poor" shape (75 percent); that they canceled or delayed a major purchase in the past year (49 percent); or that they are underwater on their mortgage (28 percent of Latino homeowners).

Latinos, who at 50 million strong make up 16 percent of the nation's population, have long trailed other Americans on most measures of economic well-being, but analyses of recent government trend data indicate that the gaps have widened since 2005, a period that encompasses the housing market crash and the Great Recession. For example:

* From 2005 to 2009, median household wealth (all assets minus debts) among Latinos fell by 66 percent, compared with a drop of 53 percent among blacks and 16 percent among whites.
* The unemployment rate among Latinos in December 2011 was 11.0 percent, up from 6.3 percent at the start of the Great Recession in December 2007. Over the same period, the national unemployment rate increased from 5.0 percent to 8.5 percent.
* Between 2006 and 2010, the poverty rate among Hispanics increased from 20.6 percent to 26.6 percent. By contrast, poverty rates increased among whites from 8.2 percent to 9.9 percent, and increased among blacks from 24.3 percent to 27.4 percent.

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