The poverty rate declined overall in 2017 but the rate among Hispanics had one of the largest year-to-year drops across demographic groups and was the lowest since poverty estimates for Hispanics were first published in 1972.

Data from the Current Population Survey Annual Social Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) showed the annual poverty rate in 2017 was 12.3 percent, a decline of 0.4 percentage points from 2016.

Across the demographic groups included in the annual report Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017, Hispanics had among the largest year-to-year decline in poverty rates, dropping down 1.1 percentage points to 18.3 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to the annual report Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017.

But for other races, including, blacks, non-Hispanic whites and Asians, there was no statistically significant change in the poverty rates in 2017 from the prior year.

hispanic-poverty-rate-hit-an-all-time-low-in-2017-figure-1

While the latest poverty rates among Hispanics are a historic low, Hispanics continue to be overrepresented among the population in poverty. They made up 18.3 percent of the total population in 2017 but accounted for 27.2 percent of the population in poverty.hispanic-poverty-rate-hit-an-all-time-low-in-2017-figure-2

Income and Characteristics

Among Hispanic origin households, inflation-adjusted median household income increased 3.7 percent in 2017, to $50,486. This is the third consecutive year of poverty rate declines and median household income increases for Hispanics.

Declines in poverty rates among Hispanics were concentrated among:

  • Males (down 1.1 percentage points).
  • The foreign-born (down 1.4 percentage points).
  • Those living in the West (down 2.3 percentage points).
  • Those residing outside metropolitan statistical areas (down 5.7 percentage points).

Poverty rates for Hispanic females, native-born Hispanics, and Hispanics living in regions outside the West or in metropolitan statistical areas were not statistically different from 2016.

Ashley Edwards is chief of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Poverty Statistics Branch.

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