- Posted By: Myriam Grajales-Hall
- Written by: Elizabeth Ellers, Univision
By coincidence, we started this round of discussions the same day that The Pew Foundation released a report on the impact of the recession on Hispanics in the United States. The analysis found that Hispanics accounted for the largest single decline in wealth of any ethnic and racial group in the country during the recession. So I was curious to see how our L.A. audience is feeling these days.
What I’m not seeing is a group beaten down by the poor economic climate. Instead I’m seeing a resilient population who remain optimistic about their economic future. A couple of factors seem to be helping Hispanics weather the rough economic times. First, they’re more likely to take on several jobs. One young man told us he was working as a welder AND as a drywall installer. Government data shows that during the recession the number of Hispanics reporting multiple jobs grew +7 percent vs. the total population at -2 percent.
Second, extended Hispanic families are more likely to have multiple wage earners in the household, which buffers the family from economic hardship. Hispanics (21 percent) are more likely than Non-Hispanics (12 percent) to have three or more employed adults per household. And they back each other up with child care and other support. A young man told us about being one of five single brothers, living at home and supporting their mother.
Third, they are entrepreneurs. Today I met several Hispanics who have started businesses or are working for other family members in their new businesses in everything from fashion styling (this is L.A.!) to industrial cleaning or IT support.
The overall tone of the conversations has been upbeat and forward-looking. The Hispanics we talked to today weren’t complaining about their situations, but were focused on the opportunities that remain and the education that will get them there.