Segregation and its impacts on Latino education and earnings

Latinos achieve lower earnings and education in the nation’s most segregated cities, says a new study.

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Latinos are America’s largest, fastest growing – and perhaps most geographically concentrated – group.

According to the Census Bureau, more than half of the nation’s 54 million Latinos live in just three states – California, Texas, and Florida. The Pew Research Center reports that the nation’s 100 largest counties by Latino population also include 71 percent of all Latinos.

While some research argues for an “enclave effect” that benefits minorities who live together, a new study from researchers at New York University’s Furman Center finds worrisome impacts associated with increasing Latino segregation in major metropolitan areas. In particular, the researchers find a direct correlation between higher levels of segregation and lower rates of education and job market success.

“The most dramatic effects are on earnings,” says the study’s lead author Justin Steil, a legal research fellow at the Furman Center. For example, Steil says, Latinos living in the nation’s most segregated city – Los Angeles – earn 17 percent less in comparison to whites than Latinos living in the somewhat less segregated Las Vegas.

Latinos living in Los Angeles are also 5.4 percent less likely to graduate from high school than Latinos living in Las Vegas and are 10.8 percent less likely to finish college in comparison to whites. And among younger Latinos ages 25 to 30, living in Los Angeles is associated with a 4.6 percentage increase in the likelihood of “disconnection” – neither working nor in school.

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