Hispanic children, the largest minority group in public schools as well as the fastest growing, are increasingly showing up in preschool programs, have made significant gains on national math tests, and are posting record high school graduation rates, according to a new study released Wednesday. But they still lagged behind their white peers in academic achievement and were more likely to live in poverty and not finish college.
Child Trends, the non-partisan, non-profit research organization, analyzed a wealth of recent Census data regarding the country’s 17.5 million Hispanic children and teens, and the group identified some surprising facts.
The vast majority of Hispanic children in 2013 – more than 90 percent — were born in the U.S. Most of those children had family connections to Mexico, and the rest were connected to Puerto Rico, followed by El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and other countries in Central America, and South America.
A majority of Hispanic children — 58 percent — live with two married parents. Latino children are more likely than their white or black counterparts to eat a meal with their families six or seven days in a week. And those meals are more likely to be home-cooked in Hispanic households, compared to meals eaten in black and white households, according to the report.
Sixty-two percent of Hispanic children are considered low income, living in families that earn just enough money to cover basic needs, the report said. Roughly one out of every three Hispanic children meets the federal definition of poor, compared with 38 percent of black children and 11 percent of white children, researchers at Child Trends found.
Hispanic parents are less likely to read to their babies and toddler than parents of white children, and Hispanic children are not adequately prepared when they start school, the report found. But there has been a recent jump in enrollment in early childhood education programs among Hispanic children, from 39 percent in 2007 to 52 percent in 2012.
And, as a group, Hispanic students are making gains, though they lag behind their white peers. Twenty-one percent of Hispanic eighth graders were proficient in federally administered math tests in 2013, a leap from eight percent in 2000. The on-time high school graduation rate for Hispanics also has surged, and college enrollment is at an all-time high. But Hispanics lagged behind whites and blacks in college completion in 2013.
One area where Hispanics outpaced other racial or ethnic groups is in smartphone use. In 2012, 43 percent of Hispanic teens between 12 and 17 owned a smartphone, compared to 35 percent of whites and 40 percent of blacks in the same age group. More white teenagers owned cell phones, followed by black teens and then Hispanics.
Read the report below: