October 11, 2016

Latinos Suffer Disproportionately from Hunger and Poverty

Washington, D.C. – Data released by Bread for the World today shows that Latinos have much higher rates of poverty and food insecurity than the general population. In 2015, 19 percent of Latino households struggled to put food on the table, and 21 percent lived below the poverty line.

“Latinos are more likely to struggle to put food on the table and live in poverty than the general population,” said Bishop José García, director of church relations at Bread for the World. “We are also more likely to be paid sub-minimum wages and to endure sub-par working and living conditions. Although the situation is improving, it is still difficult for Latino families to make ends meet.”

While the hunger and poverty rates fell for every demographic group from the previous year, the rates for Latinos remained well above the national average. According to the data, 1 in 5 Latino households struggles to put food on the table – almost double the rate for white households. And Latino children are nearly twice as likely to lack access to nutritious food. In addition, 30 percent of households headed by an undocumented person and a startling 37 percent of female-headed Latino households live below the poverty line.

The higher rates of hunger and poverty among Latinos are direct results of racial and gender bias, and discrimination on the basis of immigration status. Contributing factors include low wages, less access to quality education, limited pathways to citizenship or legal status, higher healthcare costs, and higher levels of incarceration and deportation.

“Discrimination is still a substantial hurdle for many Latino families,” said García. “There are 55 million Latinos in the U.S. who are making significant contributions to our country. By passing comprehensive immigration reform, Congress would help to address some of these biases and give struggling families access to good-paying jobs, nutritious food, and better educational opportunities.”    

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