Introduction: This study examines demographic and socioeconomic factors concerning Latinos in the United States between 1990 and 2010 – particularly the concentration of household income.
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 data indicate a growing concentration of income among upper-earning households in the U.S. total population, among the wealthiest earners in each major race/ethnic group, and among the five largest Latino national subgroups. The upper 20% of all households controlled 44% of total household income in 1990 and 48% in 2010. Over the same period the lower 20% of households received 4% of total household income in both 1990 and 2010. Households in the upper 1% experienced a rise in median household incomes of $392,807 to $509,250 between 1990 and 2010, a 30% increase. The upper 10% experienced an increase of 22% in their median incomes from $177,760 to $217,644 over the same period.
Discussion: These findings are particularly meaningful when contrasted with stagnant and/or declining incomes among the poorer households in the U.S. The lowest 10% of households earned median incomes of $10,560 in 1990 and $11,340 in 2010, a small 7% increase. Within each major race/ethnic group and the five largest Latino national subgroups in the nation, the data illustrate increasing concentration of income among the wealthiest households.