Poverty among Hispanics has risen by almost a third since the late 1970s, outstripping increases among both whites and blacks, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said Monday.
At the same time, the study - using Census Bureau figures - found that Hispanic income has declined, with the income of the typical Hispanic family further below that of the typical white family in 1987 than in any other year since the data first began to be collected in 1973."The current economic recovery appears to be benefiting Hispanics much less than other groups," Center Director Robert Greenstein said in releasing the 40 page study, "Shortchanged: Recent Developments in Hispanic Poverty, Income and Employment."
"Hispanics are the only racial or ethnic group whose poverty rate remains at or close to recession levels," Greenstein said.
The study found that between 1978 and 1987, the poverty rate for Hispanics climbed from 21.6 percent to 28.2 percent, while the poverty rates increased by much smaller amounts for blacks and whites - from 30.6 percent to 33.1 percent for blacks and from 8.7 percent to 10.5 percent for whites.
Poverty rates for all three groups climbed sharply during the recessions of the early 1980s, but black and white poverty rates declined significantly since then while the Hispanic rate has not, the Center study said.
At the same time, the study also found that from 1978 to 1987, the income of the typical Hispanic family fell nearly $1,600 while the income of the typical white family edged up $276 and the typical black family lost $854.
The study found particularly sharp increases among Hispanic children, with 39.6 percent - two in five - living in poverty last year. In 1978, the figure, while still large, was significantly lower - 27.2 percent.
Significantly, the study reported that increases in poverty and declines in income most heavily affected intact Hispanic married-couple families.
Their poverty rate grew by more than half from 1978 to 1987, the study said. Fewer than one in eight such families were poor in 1978, but 18.1 percent - nearly one in five - lived in poverty last year. The income of the typical Hispanic family fell by more than $1,000 from 1978 to 1987, it said.
In addition, the study said the failure of Hispanics to benefit from the post-1982 economic recovery "cannot be attributed to lack of work effort or to increases in the number of female-headed families."