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Introduction: This study examines demographic and socioeconomic factors regarding Latinos in New York City and the United States between 1990 and 2011 – particularly poverty rates.

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 analyzed data indicate that the poverty rate among the national population over the last two decades increased. However, there were nuanced and complex trends within both New York City and the United States when race/ethnicity and Latino nationalities are examined separately and compared. Among Latinos in the United States, poverty rates in 2011 were identical to what they had been in 1990, suggesting that the 2007-2009 recession was less important than long-term trends. However, the recession did result in increasing poverty among Latinos in the short-term. In New York City, Latinos experienced increases in poverty rates in 2009, later than among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Asians, whose rates increased in 2008. This was somewhat different than the timing found throughout the country.

Discussion: One striking conclusion when the Latino nationalities are examined separately and compared is that Mexicans and Dominicans clearly had higher poverty rates in both the U.S. and New York City than Puerto Ricans, Colombians, and Ecuadorians. In New York City and the U.S., Mexicans and Dominicans may also have fared worse in response to the economic crisis. These findings may be party attributed to migration patterns. The influx of foreign-born Mexican migrants with poorer skill levels and lower educational attainment profiles may have contributed to higher poverty rates and a greater reaction to the 2007 – 2009 economic downturn. This may have been the case among New York City’s Dominicans as well, who continued to arrive in significant numbers after 2000.


For additional information about this collection see

Citation information: Calcagno, J. (2013). Trends in Poverty Rates among Latinos in New York City and the United States, 1990 - 2011. New York, NY: Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.



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