Socioeconomic Conditions Among Latinos In New York City Have Improved, But There Are Stark Differences By Birthplace

NEW YORK, December 1, 2022—A new report published today by the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) shows that median household income among Latinos has increased by almost 18% between 1990 and 2018, but there are more domestic-born Latinos in poverty than foreign-born Latinos.

The report, titled “Socioeconomic Conditions of Foreign-Born and Domestic-born Latinos in New York City, 1990–2018,” compares the socioeconomic conditions among both populations of Latinos in the city in terms of sex, age, income, poverty, and education.

The income gap between foreign-born and domestic-born Latinos has been shrinking. In 1990, the median household income among the former was $55,302 compared to $43,875 among the latter (in 2018-adjusted dollars). By 2018, these figures were $58,000 and $56,000 respectively.

“With New York City as a major center of the Latino population in the United States, these data suggest critical differences among the foreign-born and domestic-born Latinos,” said Oscar Aponte, the author of the report. “Future public policy must consider those differences, especially in terms of age distribution, educational attainment, poverty distribution, and household income, among others.”

Other key findings:

  • The proportion of Latinos earning less than $50,000 decreased over time. Among the foreign born, 35.1% fell in this income bracket, compared to 32.0% among domestic- born Latinos.

  • Poverty has also decreased, but domestic-born Latinos had higher rates than foreign-born Latinos: in 2018, these rates were 18.1% and 16.4% respectively. page1image3156117696

  • Domestic-born Latinos have higher educational attainment than foreign-born Latinos. For example, in 2018, 10.8% of domestic-born Latinos over 25 years of age did not graduate high school, compared with 24.1% among foreign-born Latinos.

  • Important differences were found among the five largest Latino nationalities in the city. Latinos in NYC are increasingly more diverse in terms of national groups, but these groups mirror the general trends discussed earlier.

  • This report presents trends in poverty levels for the city of New York up to before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from the moment of the pandemic was not available at the time of this analysis.

Contact Sebastián Villamizar-Santamaría, Director of Quantitative Research, for a PDF of the report at svillamizarsantamaria@gradcenter.cuny.edu.

About The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

The core mission of CLACLS is to actively support and advance the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S. in the doctoral programs of The Graduate Center, and to provide opportunities for Latino students at the Ph.D. level. CLACLS’s flagship program is the Latino Data Project, established in 2003 by Laird W. Bergad founding and current CLACLS director. Bergad is a distinguished professor in the Department of Latin American, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at Lehman College and with the Ph.D. Program in History at The Graduate Center. The Latino Data Project conducts detailed quantitative research on the Latino population of the United States and New York City metropolitan region, analyzing raw data files produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies.

About The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, and initiatives, including its Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.

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