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Hispanics in this metro area are not an isolated, marginalized minority group. Their economic status, their fluency in English, and their many years in this country have produced a high level of integration into American society. New Orleans area Hispanics are long-term residents who have come primarily from Central America and the Caribbean. They are generally satisfied with their lives in this country and are quite patriotic. Hispanics are diverse educationally, but over a third have college degrees. There is a "gender gap" in the educational level of Hispanics, with males being significantly better educated. The gap extends to occupation, where Hispanic females are most likely to be in service occupations. Hispanics do not reach the income level of urban whites in America even when they have the same educational level, but, at the same time, their financial satisfaction is higher than urban American whites. Job satisfaction among Hispanics is high, partly because the status of their occupations is slightly higher than that of urban/suburban whites in the national sample. They are less likely than urban whites or blacks to have experienced a period of unemployment in the past ten years. Two-thirds of Hispanics believe that there is discrimination against Hispanics in the job market. Hispanics are less likely to have medical insurance than Americans as a whole. Hispanics' fear of crime and levels of victimization are similar to whites, but lower than that of blacks. The social needs of Hispanics identified in the survey concern job discrimination, medical insurance and English fluency, all of which are related. Hispanics who are better in Spanish have lower socio-economic status and experience more discrimination. In a multivariate analysis, fluency in English is the second best predictor of income, after education. Hispanics who are better in Spanish are more concentrated in the service occupations which are less likely to carry benefits like health insurance.


Sponsored by The Latin American and Caribbean Studies Advisory Council
and The Greater New Orleans Foundation