Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hispanics More Optimistic Despite Faring Worst in Economy

A new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll found that Hispanics and African-Americans remained the most hopeful despite the economic recession in comparison to whites.

Whites were more pessimistic in general, but Hispanics who “were more likely to be left broke, jobless and concerned that they lack the skills needed to shape their economic futures” held a more positive outlook on their economic future.

Even though Hispanic-owned businesses are growing at one of the highest rates across the nation, the community has experienced a reversal in other aspects of economic fortunes.  Compared to just a few years ago, home ownership rates are down and the number of unemployed and poor is up.

About four in 10 Hispanics that were employed also said they could be in “real financial trouble” in one month if they didn’t have a paycheck coming in.  Job insecurity was also a feeling shared by a third of Hispanics, more than in any other group and almost one-third said they lost their health insurance or other benefits.

Despite all this, the degree of pessimism among Hispanics wasn’t as high as it was with whites, who are generally more satisfied with their personal financial situations.

“I think things are going to get worse before they get better. A lot of people are going to have to buckle down because we’ve got a generation now that doesn’t work,” David Still, a married white 54-year-old father of two from Sumter, S.C., said.  “You got people who were brought up on state support and things like that. When you can get as much money sitting at home as working, you are going to do that.”

Hispanics, on the other hand, feel the economy will right itself sooner than later and that their prospects will improve in a matter of time.

“With all the cutbacks, it is hard to find a job,” said Denise Miller, a 28-year-old Hispanic mother of two in El Paso.  “I’m substituting, but I’d rather have a full-time job.”

The poll also found that two-thirds of Hispanics believe that by working hard people will be able to get ahead and  just a little over half said that their family’s financial situation will improve over the next year.

According to the poll, Whites were more likely to say “It will be a long time before the economy recovers.”

Whites and Hispanics also differed over who is to blame for the nation’s economic troubles.  Whites felt the president’s economic program was to blame by a margin of 2 to 1, but Hispanics felt the opposite by 3 to 1.  African Americans held the best view of the president’s handling of the economy.

The poll was conducted by telephone from Jan. 27 to Feb. 9 among a random national sample of 1,959 adults.

Washington Post