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Survey: Latinos "Very Optimistic" About Finances

PHOTO: A new survey shows the majority of Hispanic-Americans have a sense of optimism about their finances, but also believe racism and crime are getting worse. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
PHOTO: A new survey shows the majority of Hispanic-Americans have a sense of optimism about their finances, but also believe racism and crime are getting worse. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
November 17, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY - A majority of Hispanic-Americans are optimistic about their finances and health care, but concerned about racism and violence, according to a new survey from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Sylvia Manzano is with Latino Decisions, the firm that conducted the survey, entitled "The State of the Latino Family 2014." She says one in two people surveyed say their personal finances have improved in the past five years.

"So, even though more than half of Hispanics earn less than $40,000 a year, we still see a very bright and forward-looking sort-of attitude," Manzano says.

Manzano says the poll shows three out of four Hispanic-Americans are "optimistic" or "very optimistic" about the future of their finances. She adds, a majority feel access to affordable health care, education and equal opportunity has improved in the past five years. A majority also, however, says racism toward Hispanics, crime and violence, and availability of affordable housing have gotten worse.

The survey also asked, "Where do you think Latinos encounter racism or discrimination most?" Arizona was the top response, work was number two, followed by other specific states.

Gonzalo Palza, executive director at Centro de la Familia de Utah, says lack of education seems to be at the root of racism.

"Very strong patriotic feelings, to the point of being bunker-minded with immigrants," says Palza. "Especially at the border, is to me a reflection of poor education and being very poorly informed."

Palza says greater efforts to educate people about immigrants, and others who are not like them, may help to diminish racist views.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT