Latino kids in US facing difficultiesApril 30th, 2010 - 11:19 am ICT by IANS
Washington, April 30 (IANS/EFE) Latino children in the US are facing obstacles in education and health that make their success as adults and their integration into society more difficult, a study has said.
Examination of the basic statistics of the group has revealed an “alarming” situation that must be corrected, the report by the National Council of La Raza said Wednesday.
Latinos make up 22 percent of the US’ total population under the age of 18.
The first obstacle facing the 16 million young Hispanics is poverty. Almost 60 percent of them live in low-income homes, more than double the percentage of white children who live in those circumstances.
Most Latino kids live with just one parent, it said.
Latino kids’ participation in early education programmes is low. Just 55 percent graduate from high school within the normal time period. Those who fall by the wayside tend to resign themselves for the rest of their lives to working at jobs that have lower pay, the statistics revealed.
However, the study presents one positive figure: the education of Latino mothers has increased drastically in the last decade.
The report also discusses data on health and provides another worrying figure: one in every five Latino children, especially of immigrants, lacks health insurance.
More than 40 percent of Hispanic kids are obese, which places them at risk of getting diabetes, asthma and cardiovascular disease, and Latino teenagers have higher pregnancy rates than other groups.
In the face of these difficulties, many lose their way and end up in jail. One in every six Latino men will go to prison at some point in their lives, a figure that is higher than among whites but lower than the one in three black men who will serve time behind bars.
Although 92 percent of Latino youths are US citizens, the majority have at least one immigrant parent, which can make their access to education and healthcare services more difficult, the study said.
Given these data, the authors concluded that “Latino children, who represent a vital part of our country’s future, are in need of significant help.”
If nothing is done, the difficulties Latino children face “may hinder the broader integration of Latinos into US society,” the report said.
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