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Washington Post

Report Details How Race Affects Lives Of Hispanics


July 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Washington Post Service. All rights reserved. 

White and black Hispanics -- as well as Hispanics who say that they are ''some other race'' -- work different jobs, earn different levels of pay and reside in segregated neighborhoods based on the shade of their skin, according to a report released today by the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research at the State University of New York in Albany.

The report, How Race Counts for Hispanic Americans, follows the recent declaration by census officials that Hispanics, who can be of any race, have become the nation's largest ethnic minority. Its authors and others who examine the U.S. Hispanic population said it was the first to look at how the group is divided along the color line.

Hispanics who described themselves as white on the 2000 Census had the highest incomes and lowest rates of unemployment and poverty, and they tended to live near communities of white non-Hispanics, said the report, which analyzed census figures nationwide. Nearly 50 percent of Hispanics who filed a census report said they were white, according to the center's report.

The 2.7 percent of Hispanics who described themselves as black, most of them from the Caribbean, had lower incomes and higher rates of poverty than the other groups -- despite having a higher level of education.

Among Hispanics who described themselves as ''some other race,'' earnings and levels of poverty and unemployment fell between black and white members of their ethnic group. About 47 percent of Hispanics said on census forms that they are ''some other race,'' according to the report.

White Hispanics, the report said, have more economic power: Their median household income is $39,900, about $5,000 more than the median income of black Hispanic households and about $2,500 more than Hispanics who say they are some other race.

But black Hispanics are better-educated: They average nearly 12 years of education, compared with 11 for white Hispanics and 10 for the ''other race'' group. Despite their education levels, black Hispanics have 12 percent unemployment, compared with 8 percent for white Hispanics and about 10 percent for Hispanics of some other race.

John R. Logan, the report's lead researcher, said black Hispanics are intermarrying with blacks at a rate much higher than white Hispanics with white non-Hispanics and Hispanics of some other race with any other ethnic or racial group.

Nearly half of children who are defined as black Hispanic have one parent who is black but not Hispanic. By comparison, a much smaller fraction of white Hispanic children -- 20 percent -- have a parent who is white but not Hispanic.

Hispanic children who are of some other race are the most likely of the three groups to have two parents who share that category. About 10 percent have a parent who is not Hispanic, and only 6 percent have a parent who is black Hispanic or white Hispanic.

In the average metropolitan neighborhood where white Hispanics live, there are hardly any residents who are black Hispanic, the study found.

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