There’s some good news for Latinos at the start of National Latino Heritage Month.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. posted its first decrease in poverty rate since 2006. The Latino’s poverty rate dropped 2.1% – showing the most improvement of any group the Census reported.
The drop in the poverty rate among Latino children is particularly encouraging, decreasing from 25.6% to 23.5%, according to Census data.
There is still much room for improvement.
Economists are attributing the improvement to higher employment rates and salaries.
In Los Angeles County, however, the unemployment rate has remained stubbornly higher, decreasing at a much slower rate than the rest of the state and the country.
And among Latinos, the ranks of the unemployed are improving at a much slower rate.
While the data from the Census Bureau is welcomed news, there is another statistic which is very troubling for Latinos.
According to the U.S. Health and Human Services Agency, the lack of required proof documentation may cost one half million insured their health coverage.
Many of those who may lose their coverage will do so because documentation required to prove citizenship, or eligibility, is incomplete or missing.
Not only will lack of immigration documentation cost them their coverage, but those who received subsidies may have to pay those subsidies back.
Making sure all Californians have health coverage must become a priority if the state and the nation are to be able to cut health costs. Failure to do so will force the uninsured who are seriously ill to flood emergency care units, raising the cost of healthcare for everyone.
This month, the nation celebrates the economic and cultural contributions that Latinos have contributed to this country. We believe they have earned their place in the U.S., and should be treated accordingly.