Moving America Forward

Latinos Were Hard Hit by the Recession. Here’s How They’re Fighting Back

February 18, 2014
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Latinos Were Hard Hit by the Recession. Here’s How They’re Fighting Back
Lalo Munoz joins other workers in occupying the Republic Windows and Doors factory December 6, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. The workers, who received a three day's notice that their factory was shutting down, are occupying the facility demanding severance and vacation pay they maintain they are owed. During the recession Latino families were among the hardest hit, losing nearly half their earning power as lay-offs became the norm. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Latino families lost more than any other group, but this group has a plan to set things right.

The recent recession hit American Latino families especially hard—the Pew Research Center found the median household wealth of Latino families fell more than that of any other group, decreasing 66% between 2005 and 2009, from $18,359 to $6,325. Compounding those losses was a hard hit to industries employing many Latinos, such as construction, hospitality, and domestic services. It left the unemployment rate among Latinos 2% higher than it is for everyone else. Many Latino families are still struggling to regain what they’ve lost.

So the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals is teaming up with Latino business leaders, led by former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, to start the Hispanic Wealth Project. They will begin by studying the problem, and then by the end of this year develop a plan they hope will help Latino families close the gap and triple their household wealth in ten years.

One major focus will be home ownership. A larger percentage of Latinos with mortgages lost their homes due to foreclosure between 2004 and 2008 than did any other group. In a statement to Griselda Navarez of Voxxi, Gary Acosta, CEO of NAHREP, said the project leaders plan to address “a broad set of factors, like small business growth, savings, education, income, jobs and financial literacy.”

MORE: These Workers are There When We Need Them. Now We’ve Got to Keep Them Safe.

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