Along with a significant loss of income, the unemployment rate in the Latino community has more than doubled since the onset of the Great Recession. Yet, even before the recession, labor market outcomes for Latinos were generally worse than for whites. These disparities are apparent when comparing key economic data:


  • $40,785
    Median Latino family income was $40,785 in 2010, down from about $45,000 in 2000. As a percentage of white median family income, Latinos made 62.6 percent in 2010, down from 64.9 percent in 2000.
  • ↓ 7.2%
    The Great Recession wreaked havoc on household incomes for Latinos. From 2007–2010, the median Latino household’s income fell 7.2 percent, compared to 5.4 percent for the median white household.


  • 43.3%
    In 2011, 43.3 percent of Latinos, including 47.3 percent of Latino women, were employed in low-wage jobs (earning poverty-level wages or less). Among the white labor force, 23.4 percent were employed in low-wage jobs.
  • ↓ 24.1
    In 2010, 36.3 percent of Latinos age 18-64 had health insurance provided by their employer, a 24.1 percentage-point reduction from 1979.
  • ↓ 14.3
    Nearly 24 percent of Latinos age 18-64 had employer-provided pension coverage in 2010, constituting a 14.3 percentage-point erosion since 1979. This is more than double the rate of erosion in pension coverage for whites.


  • 12.5%
    The Great Recession drove the annual unemployment rate for Latinos to a peak of 12.5 percent in 2010.
  • 40%
    About 40 percent of unemployed Latinos were out of work for more than six months in 2011.
  • 12.3%
    From 2007–2011, high school–educated Latinos (with no higher educational attainment) saw their unemployment rate rise from 5.5 to 12.3 percent. Latino college graduates saw their unemployment rate rise from 2.9 to 6.9 percent.


  • $1,300
    In 2010, the median wealth, or net worth, for Latino families was $1,300, compared to median wealth for whites of $97,000.
  • 35.8%
    Latinos are nearly twice as likely as whites to have zero or negative net worth—35.8 percent compared to 18.6 percent.

Wealth disparities

The homeownership rate for Latino households was 46.9 percent in 2011, lagging far behind the homeownership rate for whites (73.8 percent). Since fewer than half of Latino households own homes, this means that for the median (typical) Latino household, there is zero wealth from home equity. The median Latino household also owns no stock.

The Great Recession decimated wealth for all demographic groups, but minorities were especially hard hit. While median wealth of white households sank 35.8 percent, it plummeted for black households (49.7 percent) and nosedived for Latino households (86.3 percent) from 2007–2010.


  • 26.6%
    In 2010, 26.6 percent of Latinos lived in poverty, compared to the overall U.S. poverty rate of 15.1 percent.
  • 38.0%
    38.0 percent of Latino children under age 6 lived in poverty in 2010, more than two-and-a-half times the rate for young white children.

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