Poll Finds Optimism, Economic Gender Gap in Latino Families

Poll Finds Optimism, Economic Gender Gap in Latino Families

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A new poll on the state of Latino families finds that when faced with tough economic times, Latina women are more economically vulnerable than Latino men.

The poll, conducted by Latino Decisions, surveyed 1,000 Latino adults in English and Spanish. It was released Wednesday by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in partnership with Univision and The Denver Post.

When faced with income losses, more than half of Latina women could not draw from personal savings (54 percent); secure a loan from a bank (53 percent), nor from family or friends (56 percent). Among Latino men, 73 percent could take on another job or more work hours, but significantly fewer Latinas (61 percent) could do the same.

Parents with young children are also at higher-than-average risk: Only 43 percent have personal savings, 49 percent indicate childcare makes their work situation difficult, and 58 percent fear losing their jobs in the next year.

“If their networks are frail, if their resources are much more limited than the resources available to men in our community, then there’s work that can be done,” says Martha Gonzalez-Cortes, principal and founder of consulting firm Gonzalez-Cortes and Associates. She cites expansion of early childcare access, universal pre-K and culturally rich, educational daycare options.

Despite these challenges, the poll found widespread optimism among Latino families.

“Even though more than half of Hispanics earn less than $40,000 a year, we still see a very bright and forward-looking attitude,” says Sylvia Manzano, principal of Latino Decisions.

Interestingly, the two groups that were the most optimistic about their financial future were undocumented immigrants (86 percent) and high-income families making over $75,000 (81 percent).

“What we have learned is that Latinos, and especially undocumented immigrants, are very optimistic that they will find a better quality of life in the U.S., despite the many obstacles,” said Gregory M. Moore, editor of The Denver Post.

The survey also found that this optimism was particularly strong among new immigrants.

“I think that sense of optimism is real because people come here optimistic, and wanting to come here because of a better future,” says Dr. Barbara Ferrer, chief strategy officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “I think it gets tempered with the reality of the challenges here … but it is tempered with the sense of, ‘I can do something about this.’”

View the results of the poll here.