Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close on October 15, it’s important that we not only celebrate the Latino community's numerous achievements and contributions in this country, but that we also reflect on the hurdles they face. 

According to Prosperity Now’s 2018 Scorecard, Latino people are twice as likely as Whites to live in poverty. In fact, in Brandeis University’s Racial Wealth Audit, researchers found that that not only is there a gap between Latino people and their White counterparts in education, homeownership and income; but there is also a gap in the financial returns on each of these factors as well. Keeping this in mind, it is easy to see why there is a $110,780 difference in net worth between the median white and Latino households.

In order to close the racial wealth divide, policy must encourage homeownership, education and employment that yields fair returns to Whites and people of color alike. For example, the Racial Wealth Audit estimates that if homeownership rates were equal between Latino and white households, the median Latino household’s wealth would increase by 350%. Laws that reform homeownership provisions in the tax code, make quality mortgage credit more accessible and prevent discrimination in housing can all shrink this gap.  

The Racial Wealth Audit also estimates that median Latino household wealth would increase 70% if the returns on education between Whites and Latino people were equalized. This can be achieved by making schools more affordable and integrated at every level.  

Regarding income, the Racial Wealth Audit estimates that Latino household wealth would rise 105% if income were equated with that of White households. This can be accomplished by fostering job market growth with an expansion of the New Markets Tax Credit. For more details on the disparity in racial wealth and how it affects the Latino community, check out Prosperity Now’s fact file, Latinos and the Racial Wealth Divide. 

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