Comparison of data across racial/ ethnic/minority Groups in the us—the case of the hispanic population - USA Essay Example

I.                   Introduction

The United States represent one of the most ethnically diverse nations in the world today - Comparison of data across racial/ ethnic/minority Groups in the us—the case of the hispanic population introduction. Its ethnic composition is comprised of Whites, Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Asians, Native Americans and Hispanics. Regional variations exist where the presences of races are more pronounced, and these variations have different forms of socio-economic impacts.  Among those ethnic groups that comprise a great percentage of the American people are the Hispanics.

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The Hispanics or the Latinos comprise the largest minority group in the US.  They include more than 41.87 million people out of the 300 million total population of the US, more than half of which are Mexicans (26 million), followed by Puerto Ricans (3.78 million), Central Americans (3.084 million) and South Americans (2.238 million) in 2005 (US Census Bureau, 2005)  . The number does not yet include other Hispanic or Latino races, such as Spaniards, etc. Their big share of the American demographic pie connotes their enormous influence on the society as a whole; however, their socio-economic characteristics show distinct differences from the American society in general.

This paper will discuss the comparison of Hispanic Americans to that of other races by means of the following data: Income, Education, Employment, Poverty and Crime.

II.                Characteristics of the Hispanic Americans

i. Income. Although there is a generally high level of income in the US, disparity exists among races. An average Hispanic (any sex) earned an average of $27,760 in 2005, against the national average of $39,579. Whites enjoy higher levels of income with an average of $40,717, with males earning an average of $49,611, compared with Hispanic males average income of $31, 008. Blacks also earn significantly higher income than Hispanics with $30,472 mean income (US Census Bureau, 2005)

ii.Education. In relation to the data from the US Census Bureau, there is also a wide disparity in average educational attainments of Hispanics compared to other ethnic groups. Only 59.3 % of Hispanics finished High School compared with 85.5% national average. An average of 86.1% of Whites, 80.7% of Blacks, 90.5% of Non-Hispanic Whites (eg, Europeans etc) finished their high school. Moreover, only 9.5% of Hispanics have Bachelor’s degree compared with the 28.4% national average, 28.3% of whites, 18.6% of Blacks and 34.3% of Non-Hispanic whites (US Census Bureau, 2006) .

iii.      Employment.  In March 2007, Hispanics have a 5.1% unemployment rate and 68.9% are economically active. On the other hand, 66.5% of Whites are economically active and has a lower unemployment rate of 4.0% last February 2007. Participation rate for blacks is also comparable at 64.3%, with their unemployment rate among the highest in the ethnic groups, with 7.9%. Asians, with an average 66.4% participation rate in March 2007, have exhibited the lowest unemployment rate at 3.0% in the same period (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007).

iv.      Poverty. Poverty levels among Hispanics are second highest in the nation at 21.9%. The Blacks have the highest poverty level at 24.7%, while whites and non-Hispanic Whites have poverty levels of only 10.8% and 8.7%.  Asians have also low poverty rates, standing 9.8%.(De Navas-Walt, 2005).

v.      Crime. Although crime rates have substantially decreased for different ethnic groups, violent victimization among Hispanics decreased by more than 50% within a span of seven years from 1993 to 2000. Violent crime per 1,000 populations among Hispanics is now comparable to that of other ethic groups, from 62.8 per 1,000 to only 27.9 per 1000 in 2000. Whites, Blacks, American Indians, and Asians have crime rate per 1000 of 26.5, 34.1, 52.3 and 8.4 per 1000 population, respectively (US Dept. of Justice-Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002).

III.             Disparities Explained

The statistical disparity could be well explained by historical, as well as social and economic reasons.  For Income level disparity, the sources of difference could be attributed to the divergent average educational attainments of the ethnic groups. Whites and Non-Hispanic Whites have higher average years of education, thus enabling them to look for higher paying jobs.  As stated above, only about a tenth of Hispanics finished high school, in so doing severely limiting their employment opportunities. It is a fact that highly educated individuals are more likely to secure higher paying jobs. In addition, the less education a person receives makes him more prone to being unemployed and underemployed. Most Hispanics are employed in the manufacturing and services sector, particularly in industries which are labor intensive, where wages are generally lower. However, even if wages are lower, the huge wage differential between Latin American countries and the US in all sectors entices most of these Hispanics to work in the US, even if they are to be underemployed.

For education, the huge disparity could be attributed to relatively lower prioritization of Hispanics in the US in education—this may be a haphazard generalization, but majority of Hispanics reside in the US more for economic reasons of taking advantage of salary differentials, and not for academic purposes. In addition, most of migrants are workers looking for economic security.

In terms of employment, the high unemployment rate could be partly explained by the relatively lower educational attainments of Hispanics compared to other races. Since there is an immense pressure in the labor market, Hispanics are less likely to compete with relatively better educated Whites, Non-Hispanic Whites and even Asians.

In addition to education, another factor that exacerbates poverty among Hispanics is underemployment. Many educated Hispanics are forced to take jobs below their competency levels because of lack of skills and trainings. Many migrant Hispanic workers also are forced to work in underpaid occupations, because of lack of precise timing on jobs that will fit their competency levels.

Lastly, crime rates are also factors that should be also reviewed. Crime rates have been subject of great interest, especially the differences among races. Notable among Hispanics is that there are also many cases of illegal border crossings, especially between the US-Mexico borders. These crossings have perpetuated flow of prohibited drugs, even entry of criminals. In addition, ethnic conflicts between specific Hispanic races and other races are known to exist; the presence of gangs and syndicates exacerbates this fact. However, these activities are also present in other ethnic groups, but still contribute to overall crime rates in the US.

IV.              Socio-Economic Impacts of the Inequality

The inequality would ceaselessly pose impacts to the whole community. If sufficient human capital investment is not made, these detrimental inequalities could pose larger social problems in the long run. For one, in order to decrease the poverty among Hispanic households, opportunities should be opened up for them. By these opportunities, Latinos should be able to invest for their career growth, and ultimately develop well their place in the society.

Education should also be heavily considered. If not, Hispanics would continue to be underpaid and underemployment in labor market with limited income opportunities. Crime rates are also most likely to decrease in a society that is better educated and in better economic positioning. Incentives should be provided not only to Hispanics, but also among institutions that are dedicated in decreasing the inequalities among ethnic groups.

To conclude, inequalities exist because of the interplay of political, social and economic situations. However, this interplay could pose some detrimental levels of inequality if not properly addressed.  Disadvantageous social implications should be prevented before they actually pose threat to society as a whole.

Literature Cited

Carmen De Navas-Walt, B. D. P., Cheryl Hill Lee. (2005). Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005. Retrieved. from http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2007). Table A-2. Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age [Electronic Version]. Retrieved April 26, 2007 from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t02.htm.

US Census Bureau. (2005). B03001. HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY SPECIFIC ORIGIN – Universe: TOTAL POPULATION [Electronic Version]. Retrieved April 26, 2007. Retrieved April 26, 2007 from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-ds_name=ACS_2005_EST_G00_&-redoLog=false&-mt_name=ACS_2005_EST_G2000_B03001

US Census Bureau. (2005). Table A-3. Mean Earnings of Workers 18 Years and Over, by Educational Attainment, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex: 1975 to 2005 [Electronic Version]. Retrieved April 26,2007 from http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/educ-attn.html.

US Census Bureau. (2006). Table A-2. Percent of People 25 Years and Over Who Have Completed High School or College, by Race, Hispanic Origin and Sex: Selected Years 1940 to 2006 [Electronic Version]. Retrieved April 26,2007 from http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/educ-attn.html

 

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