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Michigan's growing Latino population still faces many challenges

Aug 24, 2015

Credit flickr user Texas Military Forces / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Latinos have been a presence in Michigan for more than a century. But even after all those decades, the Latino population is still experiencing significant growing pains.

That's the conclusion of a major report from the Michigan State University Julian Samora Research Institute titled, "Latinos 2025: A Needs Assessment of Latino Communities in Southeast Michigan."

"I mean, I was shocked to learn that over 50% of Latino children are growing up in poverty, and the rates are even higher among African Americans," said Ruben Martinez, director of the Julian Samora Research Institute.

According to Martinez, there are almost half a million people of Hispanic heritage in Michigan, or about 4.8% of the overall population. He says the aim of the study was to get a sense of the status of Latinos in Michigan and their wellbeing. 

"The biggest issue across the state and across the country has to do with increasing poverty. What we find is that poverty is not peculiar to Latinos, but we have higher poverty rates. So, when we look at Latinos, in my point of view, they provide a window to some of the issues across the larger society...and those have to do with language incorporation, cultural differences and so forth."