Rate of Hispanic Poverty in America Hits Record Low

March 3, 2019 Updated: March 4, 2019

The poverty rate among Hispanics in the United States fell to a historic low of 18.3 percent in 2017, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau—the lowest rate recorded since the agency first started tracking the data in 1972.

In 2017, the rate of poverty had declined overall, but for Hispanics in particular, the rate was one of the largest year-to-year drops across demographic groups, shedding 1.1 percentage points from 2016, according to the annual report “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017.”

The 1.1 percent decrease in 2017 was also the largest year-to-year decline for the Hispanic population, and was a larger drop than any other demographic.

The Bureau said the rate of poverty declined slightly overall for Americans in 2017 to 12.3 percent, marking the third year in a row that the rate has fallen. Census officials also noted that for non-Hispanics, the year-on-year decline wasn’t statistically significant.

Aside from the declining poverty rates, the inflation-adjusted median household income for Hispanics also increased by 3.7 percent in 2017 to $50,486. Both the increase in income and the declining poverty rate marked the third consecutive year of such numbers for Hispanics.

The poverty declines for Hispanics were concentrated among Hispanic males, who witnessed a 1.1 percent decrease. Meanwhile, foreign-born Hispanics experienced a 1.4 percentage point decrease and those living in the West saw a 2.3 percent drop.

For Hispanic women, native-born Hispanics, and Hispanics living in regions outside the West or in metropolitan statistical areas, poverty rates were not statistically different from 2016.

President Donald Trump, in his State of the Union address in February, touted the gains made in the Hispanic-American community.

“Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded,” he said. “Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in our history—157 million.”

Latinos for Trump

Republican National Committee data from Trump’s rally in El Paso, Texas, on Feb. 12 revealed that among the roughly 30,000 people who had registered online, an estimated 70 percent were Hispanic. When registering, people submitted a phone number, which was used to match the person with party voting data.

The Feb. 12 rally—Trump’s big push for a physical barrier along the U.S.–Mexico border—was held at The El Paso County Coliseum, which holds around 8,000 people. Tens of thousands were also outside the arena, watching the event on screens.

Latino support of the president has been overlooked, Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said. One key statistic was that two-thirds of all attendees had only voted in two or fewer of the past four presidential elections.

“The El Paso rally had thousands of people from New Mexico … The left’s narrative isn’t working, Latinos support @realDonaldTrump in epic numbers,” he said on Twitter.

Trump’s approval rating among Latinos also had shot up by 19 points, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released in January.

The poll, conducted from Jan. 10 to Jan. 13, found that 50 percent of Latinos surveyed approve of the job Trump is doing. The same poll, conducted in December, showed the approval rating at 31 percent. Pollsters surveyed 1,023 adults by phone in the latest one.

Trump said the survey’s findings reflect how important the wall is to Hispanics, “That is because they know the Border issue better than anyone, and they want Security, which can only be gotten with a Wall.”

Follow Bowen on Twitter: @BowenXiao3
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