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How Foreign- and U.S.-Born Latinos Fare During Recessions and Recoveries



Latinos make up the nation’s largest ethnic minority group. The majority of Latinos are U.S. born, making the progress and well-being of Latinos no longer just a question of immigrant assimilation but also of the effectiveness of U.S. educational institutions and labor markets in equipping young Latinos to move out of the working class and into the middle class. One significant headwind to progress among Latinos is recessions. Economic outcomes of Latinos are far more sensitive to the business cycle than are outcomes for non-Hispanic whites. Latinos also have higher poverty rates than whites, although the gap had been falling prior to the pandemic. Deep holes in the pandemic safety net further imperiled Latino progress in 2020 and almost surely will in 2021 as well. Policies that would help working-class and poor Latinos include immigration reform and education reform and broader access to affordable health care.

Suggested Citation

  • Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2021. "How Foreign- and U.S.-Born Latinos Fare During Recessions and Recoveries," Working Papers 2104, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:90679
    DOI: 10.24149/wp2104
    Note: This paper was prepared for a special issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, “What has happened to the American Working Class since the Great Recession?”

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tara Watson, 2014. "Inside the Refrigerator: Immigration Enforcement and Chilling Effects in Medicaid Participation," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 313-338, August.
    2. Couch, Kenneth A. & Fairlie, Robert W. & Xu, Huanan, 2020. "The Impacts of COVID-19 on Minority Unemployment: First Evidence from April 2020 CPS Microdata," IZA Discussion Papers 13264, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2019. "Employment Among US Hispanics: a Tale of Three Generations," Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 3-19, June.
    4. Peri, Giovanni & Rutledge, Zachariah, 2020. "Revisiting Economic Assimilation of Mexican and Central Americans Immigrants in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 12976, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Marcella Alsan & Crystal Yang, 2018. "Fear and the Safety Net: Evidence from Secure Communities," NBER Working Papers 24731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. George J. Borjas & Hugh Cassidy, 2020. "The Adverse Effect of the COVID-19 Labor Market Shock on Immigrant Employment," NBER Working Papers 27243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Taehoon & Peri, Giovanni & Viarengo, Martina, 2022. "The gender aspect of migrants’ assimilation in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).

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    More about this item


    Hispanics; immigrants; working class; business cycles;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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