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Latino Population In Rural America Is Growing: New Carsey Institute Fact Sheet

By Beth Potier, Media Relations
January 23, 2008

Despite their traditional residence in U.S. urban areas, Latinos represent a large and growing segment of America’s rural population, a new fact sheet from the Carsey Institute at UNH finds. Using recent data from the Census Bureau’s 2006 American Community Survey (ACS), the fact sheet by Carsey Institute rural fellow Rogelio Saenz presents a profile of the Latino population in the non-metropolitan United States.

The fact sheet, “A Profile of Latinos in Rural America,” finds that nearly 3.2 million Latinos live in rural areas of the country, comprising 6.3 percent of the nation’s non-metro inhabitants. In addition, the fact sheet finds the Latino population in the United States is young (three in 10 Latinos in non-metro areas are younger than age 15) and is giving birth at a higher rate than other groups.

“The rural Latino population is growing and is spreading beyond the traditional Southwest, where they have been clustered in the past,” said Saenz, who is a rural fellow at the Carsey Institute as well as a professor in the department of sociology at Texas A&M University. “This population is also young and faces the challenges associated with low levels of education and high rates of poverty. Rural policymakers and community leaders should consider these factors to ensure that Latinos prosper in their communities.”

Among the key findings from the fact sheet:

· Although Mexicans comprise three-fourths of all Latinos in non-metro areas, the population is diverse, with Latinos from Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain all represented.

· Nearly four-fifths of non-metro Latinos age five and older speak English.

· Compared to non-Hispanic whites and blacks, non-metro Latinos are proportionately younger (three in ten are under age 15), gave birth at higher rates (9.2 percent for Latinas compared to 5.5 percent for whites and 6.3 percent for blacks), and have lower levels of education.

· One-third of Latinos in non-metro areas were born outside the U.S.

· Seven states in the South and Southwest have at least 100,000 non-metro Latinos, accounting for 57 percent of the nation’s non-metro Latino population: Texas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and California.

· Non-metro Latinos are living in poverty (28 percent) at twice the rate of whites but less than the rate among blacks. Roughly two-fifths of Latino households/families in non-metro areas have incomes below $25,000, compared to 55 percent of black families.

· Latino men aged 25-54 in non-metro areas are employed at a rate consistent with white men and women (unemployment rates of 5.5 percent for Latino males), while Latina women and black men and women face greater job uncertainty.

For a copy of the fact sheet, go to: http://carseyinstitute.unh.edu/documents/SaenzRuralLatinoFS08.pdf

For more information about the Carsey Institute, go to www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu.


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