U.S. Hispanics Make New Ground in Education and Business
Written by: George Poor
There is quite a bit of negative press these days surrounding the state of immigration and Hispanics in the United States. The Trump administration much prefers to drive the narrative that Hispanics are an economic burden on the U.S. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. New reports and data illustrate that U.S. Hispanics are making massive strides in educational and economic participation.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report highlighting improved education participation for Hispanics in the United States. Notably, high school dropout rates have fallen to a new national low. This follows several decades of decline already, solidifying a healthy direction for Hispanic youth in the U.S. In 1994, the dropout rate for Hispanic high schoolers was 34 percent. Today, that number is as low as 10 percent.
White, black, and asian high schoolers have all experienced dropout rate improvements; however, Hispanics represent the largest decline in the 18-24 year old demographic. Hispanic high school graduates are also entering colleges in larger numbers. According to a 2016 Pew research study, 47 percent of Hispanic 18-24 year olds, the same amount as their white counterparts, were enrolled in colleges and universities. This is a significant gap that has been closed. In 1996, Hispanics in the 18-24 year old age range lagged 10 percent behind whites in college enrollment.
U.S. Hispanics are not only making gains in education, they’re also starting businesses at record rates. In 2012, Hispanics accounted for 10 percent of all new firms in the U.S. Today, they start 24 percent of news firms. That equates to a 140 percent increase in new business participation in just a few years.
These figures are courtesy of a new report from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USPCC). “Throughout the United States, Hispanic entrepreneurs play a crucial role in supporting the growth of local communities,” said Javier Palomarez, CEO of the USHCC. To add some perspective to that quote, Hispanic businesses contribute an estimated $700 billion to the American economy.
There’s Work to be Done
Despite these recent gains, there are still performance gaps that need to be closed. Although more Hispanics are in college than ever before, their completion rates are still behind. Only 45% of Hispanics have completed some post-secondary education. Compare that to 75% of whites. There is cause of optimism, though. The completion rate is likely to rise if dropout rates stay low and college enrollment continues rise..
When it comes to annual earnings, U.S. Hispanics are still lagging. The annual household income for Hispanics was about $47,000 in 2016, according to Census figures. This is well below whites and Asians, at $65,000 and $81,000, respectively.
Gaps aside, Hispanics are making serious gains in important education and economic benchmarks that can no longer be ignored.
About the writer:
George is a freelance politics and media writer based in New York City. Prior to relocating to New York, he spent several years working in law enforcement and government affairs in Washington, DC. George writes on a variety of topics ranging from humor, fiction, to news analysis and opinion. He is the founder and editor of themidnightperspective.com, and is also a contributor at flickfans.net.