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Kellogg survey reveals optimism in Latino community
A national poll conducted by Latino Decisions for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation revealed that, despite concerns of increasing discrimination and inequities for Latinos and their families in the United States, there is a prevailing sense of optimism about the future.
On Nov. 12, the Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in partnership with Univision Communications and The Denver post, released the findings of its national survey polling 1,000 Latino adults who reside in the United States to provide a perspective within the Latino community on issues such as socioeconomic opportunities and discrimination.
The State of the Latino Family 2014 Survey included results from interviews of 1,000 Latino adults from Sept. 19 through Oct. 15 to gauge their reaction to a variety of timely and important topics. The interviews were conducted by Latino Decisions, a leading Latino political opinion research firm.
Those surveyed represented newly undocumented immigrants to residents whose families migrated to the U.S. generations ago. Topics included social issues, demographics, education, economic conditions, health and the overall Latino experience in the country.
One of the key findings noted an overall theme of optimism about the future, despite an awareness of discrimination and inequities the Latino community experiences. The executive summary indicated that, while the optimistic “trend holds throughout virtually all of the survey, there are important — often counterintuitive — differences by demographic groups that underscore the complexity of the Latino experience in the United States today.”
La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation, said the perspectives and experiences of America’s largest racial and ethnic minority groups merit singular attention.
“With Latino children being the fastest-growing demographic in the nation, their well-being is critical to America’s future. The polling uncovers challenges faced by children and families, while identifying areas where families are succeeding,” said Tabron in the release.
“We hope the polling data is used to intensify efforts by the public, private and nonprofit sectors to address root causes of the education, health, housing and wealth inequities for people of color, especially children. This includes confronting racial biases, conscious and unconscious, that impact their families and communities.”
The top issues cited by those polled include employment opportunities, economic concerns, immigration, and guns and violence. Jobs and economy were the most pressing issues cited at 21 percent, followed by immigration and deportation at 14 percent. Of the respondents, 12 percent were most concerned by guns and violence, while 9 percent were troubled with educational issues.
Dr. Gail C. Christopher, vice president for policy and senior advisor at WKKF, said the findings reinforce the need for a solemn commitment to unifying the nation, rejecting racism, and finding strength, not resentment, in differences.
“The findings demonstrate the need for national systems-wide approaches, and place-based community empowerment and revitalization strategies,” she said.
Although overall optimistic about the future of their finances, 67 percent indicated they would rely on working additional hours or taking on an extra job if they happened to fall on hard times, rather than depending on personal savings, loans from family or friends, or a bank loan.
Only 42 percent of respondents felt they would be able to rely on a bank loan, and more than half of Latinas indicated they could not draw from personal savings, secure a bank loan, or borrow from family or friends, according to the study.
Other key findings highlighted the perspective held by the Latino community on whether social conditions and access to opportunity had improved or worsened over the last five years.
The three areas viewed as improved include health care access, equality opportunity and education, while availability of affordable housing, violence, crime and discrimination had worsened.
While 47 percent noted health care access had improved and 40 percent felt positive about equal opportunity, 32 percent indicated respect and dignity had worsened, and 36 percent felt discrimination is not improving.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, chief strategy officer at the Kellogg Foundation, said the poll of Latino families demonstrates that, despite some gains toward racial equity in Latino communities, there is more work to be done.
“It is essential for America’s future that these issues be addressed, especially as the nation quickly approaches a time when the majority of children in the U.S. will be children of color,” said Ferrer.
“Achieving racial healing and racial equity are key components of our mission to support children, families and communities in creating and strengthening the environment for children to succeed.”
The State of the Latino Family 2014 Survey is associated with the foundation’s America Healing initiative comprising four quantitative studies of the largest racial and ethnic minority communities in the country.
Launched in 2010, America Healing promotes racial healing and equality through raising awareness of unconscious biases and inequities, according to the foundation’s website.