Press Statement

UnidosUS: New Poverty Figures Provide Incomplete Picture of Latino Economic Reality

September 12, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released its report on income, poverty and health insurance, part of its 2017 Current Population and American Community surveys. According to the report, most Americans saw little improvement in terms of income or poverty measures. While UnidosUS’s analysis of Census data for Latinos showed some bright spots, such as the fact that the typical Hispanic household income increased 3.7 percent to $50,486 from 2016 to 2017, many Latino households are still struggling to make ends meet. In fact, one out of every 10 Latinos were living below the poverty line in 2017. Latinos also continue to be uninsured at nearly twice the rate of overall population. In 2017, 16 percent of Latinos were uninsured compared to 8.8 percent of Americans overall. While the numbers provide some insight into the economic health of Latinos in the United States, they do not paint a complete picture.

“We expected poverty numbers to fall, continuing a trend that started in 2014, but the 2017 rate is still too high. When you look behind the numbers, it is clear that too many Latino families continue to struggle putting food on the table and access the health care services they need. We’re particularly concerned about what this means for the 4.6 million Latino children living in poverty,” said Samantha Vargas Poppe, Director, Policy Analysis Center, UnidosUS.

The slight gains in income from 2016 to 2017 are a testament to the continued hard work of Latino families, who have one of the highest labor force participation rates of any subgroup in the country. Hunger and poverty however, along with access to health coverage, remain a very real issue for many who need critical government programs to help them stay healthy, put food on the table and stay above the poverty line. But under the Trump administration, many of these programs are facing drastic cuts and even elimination.

“While the recent tax law has sent corporate profits through the roof, millions of Americans struggle to make ends meet under the Trump agenda. Our nation’s workers are feeling squeezed between stagnate wage growth, rising cost of living, and the ruthless policy agenda of the current Administration. Instead, our leaders must prioritize our workers and families; something that will benefit the nation and the overall economy,” concluded Vargas Poppe.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.