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Geographic Dispersion of Latinos in NY State Does not Erase Gaps in Income, Education

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Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150, Jackie Hayes (518) 442-3172

Christine E. Bose

Sociologist Christine E. Bose

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 7, 2009) -- While Hispanic New Yorkers who have left New York City to settle across the state have increased their education and earnings, large gaps persist or have widened compared to non-Hispanic whites, according to a new report by the University at Albany-based New York Latino Research and Resources Network (NYLARNet).

The report, "Changes in Socioeconomic Status -- City Variations Among Latino New Yorkers, 2000-2005," said in recent years an increased geographic dispersion of Latinos throughout the Northeast region, frequently motivated by the search for a better community, has spurred growth in newer communities and decline in older ones and has not always resulted in positive outcomes. In New York City, the Puerto Rican population dropped by 6.2 percent between 2000 and 2005 (from 839,073 to 787,046 people). 

The NYLARNet report, authored by UAlbany sociologist and researcher Christine E. Bose, compared census data for 2000 and 2005 and studied Latino migration to the selected high-population areas of Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Nassau County.

The report found:

 While 25.3 percent of New York’s Latinos lived below the poverty level in 2005, Latinos had dropped from 3.2 times to 2.9 times more likely to live in poverty than non-Hispanic whites. However, considerable variation existed across the state: Latino poverty rates sharply increased in Buffalo (from 29.4 to 43.4 percent), but decreased somewhat in Nassau County (from 12.8 to 10.3 percent).

 Increased poverty was partly due to the rise in unemployment over five years both among whites and Latinos of either sex and in all locations. Latinos were 1.8 times more likely to be unemployed than whites: statewide, Latino unemployment rates increased from 7.9 to 10 percent, while non-Hispanic white unemployment increased from 4.0 to 5.4 percent.

 Latinos have increased their high school graduation rates in all cities in New York State for which there is comparative data, except in Buffalo, where graduation rates are holding steady. There is some variation, with low graduation rates in Rochester (56.7 percent) and relatively high rates in Nassau County (68.8 percent).

 Latino household incomes have increased over five years in all the cities for which there are comparable measures, and the Latino household average is $33,472. However, in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, Latinos have much lower household incomes, ranging from $18,301 to $20,559, reflecting both lack of job opportunities in upstate economies and fewer highly educated Latinos. These figures are near or below the 2005 national poverty level of $19,971 for a family of four.

About NYLARNet:
The New York Latino Research and Resources Network (NYLARNet) was created to sponsor and conduct policy-relevant research focused on Latinos in New York State. The network is a project of the Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies (CELAC) and a research consortium that includes the Institute for Dominican Studies at City College, CUNY, and the Latino Studies Program at Cornell University. NYLARNet brings together the combined expertise of scholars and other professionals doing research in health, education, immigration, and politics. NYLARNet also conducts the Latino Political Barometer, a poll series that tracks important Latino issues in the economy, education, and culture. 

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