Introduction: This study examines demographic and socioeconomic aspects of the Latino population of the New York City area between 1999 and 2004.
Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.
Results: The most striking differential when household income patters are examined is that among Latino households there was almost no increase in median household income between 1999 and 2004. Among whites, African Americans, and Asians there were significant increases in median household income over this 5-year period. When household income distribution patterns are examined between 1999 and 2004 Latino households not only had the highest percentage of the four principal racial/ethnic earning under $30,000 annually – over 50% in both years – but there was no change in the percentage of lower income-earning Latino households. Each of the other racial/ethnic groups experienced both a decline in households earning under $30,000 annually, as well as an increase in those households earning more than $50,000 annually. Latinos had the smallest proportion of households in the city earning more than $50,000 annually in 1999 and 2004 and also there was no significant increase in the percentage of Latino households in this income category between these years.
Discussion: While Latinos continue to make up the poorest sectors of New York City’s population, it ould be emphasized that they are not homogenous either from the perspectives of national origins or income distribution structures. However, it should be noted that while poverty and low household or family incomes continue to plague a good portion of the Latino community, there was also clear evidence of wealth and middle income sectors of significant proportions and a marked degree of social stratification. Over one-quarter of all Latino families and households earned over $50,000 annually.