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March 1, 2015
Vol. 72
No. 6

Double Take

Double Take- thumbnail

Research Alert

The Good News

There are several positive trends among Hispanic children and youth in the United States, despite the challenges that many of these children face. A recent report from ChildTrends strives to "widen the lens" on America's Hispanic children, revealing "enduring strengths upon which to build and impressive, but often overlooked, signs of progress" (p. 3).
But first, some demographics. One in four children in the United States today is Hispanic, and much of the recent growth in the Latino population has been a result of births to families already living here, rather than to immigration. Although most Latino children are not immigrants, as of 2013, more than half had at least one parent who was born outside the United States, making the immigrant experience a recent reality for them. Finally, among U.S. Hispanic children, 7 in 10 have a Mexican heritage.
Hispanic children face serious challenges that the report also highlights. Nearly one-third of Hispanic children live in households in poverty. Hispanic children are the least likely, when compared with their black or white counterparts, to be academically ready for kindergarten. Few young Hispanic adults have completed a postsecondary degree. And among children ages birth through five, Latinos are the group least likely to have had a well-child visit to a doctor's office in the past year.
Nevertheless, the report reveals some bright spots:
  • Young Latino children enter kindergarten with important social-emotional skills on a par with, or even exceeding, their non-Latino peers.
  • The majority of Latino children live with two parents, which offers a firm foundation for emotional and economic well-being.
  • For many Hispanic children, strong family traditions anchor their upbringing. For example, Latino children are more likely than children in other racial or ethnic groups to regularly eat dinner with their families.
  • The percentage of Hispanic children attending preschool programs is increasing.
  • More Latinos than ever before have a high school diploma, and record numbers are earning associate's and bachelor's degrees.
Written by David Murphy, Lina Guzman, and Alicia Torres, America's Hispanic Children: Gaining Ground, Looking Forward is available at


Check out the following TED Talks on diversity:
  • In "<LINK URL="">How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them</LINK>," diversity advocate Verna Myers looks at the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She shows us how to move toward, not away from, the groups that make us uncomfortable.
  • In "<LINK URL="">How Autism Freed Me to Be Myself</LINK>," 16-year-old Rosie King wants to know why everyone is so worried about being normal. She calls on us to celebrate human diversity.
  • In "<LINK URL="">The Danger of a Single Story</LINK>," Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk crucial misunderstandings.

Relevant Reads

Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts edited by Diane Portnoy, Barry Portnoy, and Charlie Riggs (GMU Press, 2012)
"A little over a million legal immigrants arrive annually to the United States, far more than to any other country on the planet," writes Charlie Riggs. Another 400,000 or so enter the country without documentation, and foreign-born individuals now account for 12 percent of the total U.S. population. But these numbers, impressive though they are, don't represent a new challenge. Throughout its history, the United States has enjoyed several great waves of immigration that rival the present era.
This book traces the history of many immigrant groups. Like immigrants today, past immigrants have been viewed with anxiety; nativists have characterized members of each new group as freeloaders, job stealers, bearers of disease, criminals, and peddlers of dangerous political and religious doctrines. But in addition to describing the real challenges that society always faces in assimilating immigrants, the essays in this book support the lesson that "the contributions of immigrants are legion" and "they are gifts to America."

Numbers of Note: The Face of U.S. Neighborhoods

77%—The average white U.S. resident lives in a neighborhood that is 77 percent white.
45%—The average black U.S. resident lives in a neighborhood that is 45 percent black.
45%—The average Hispanic U.S. resident lives in a neighborhood that is 45 percent Hispanic.
20%—The average Asian U.S. resident lives in a neighborhood that is 20 percent Asian.
Source: Frey, W. H. (2015). Diversity explosion: How new racial demographics are remaking America. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution. Based on 2010 U.S. Census Data.


"We love our history as 'a nation of immigrants,' but at the same time, we're conflicted about immigration and the changes it brings."
<ATTRIB> —Patricia Gándara </ATTRIB>

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

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