Motivator:

We all know that Latinos are a growing population in Oregon. The chart below shows this!

ruralUrbanOR Latino graph

 

 

 

(click the chart to look at rural and urban race/ethnicity data in the Rural Communities Explorer)

 

 

 

But what many of us don’t realize is that Latinos live in rural and urban Oregon, and are increasingly urban. (The chart shows that too!) So because the Latino community isn’t in just one type of environment in our state it’s important to think about the rural and urban differences among this growing population. Here are some interesting findings about these urban and rural differences that I’ve come across in my demographic adventures.

Nugget2

 

Key learning nugget:

Latinos in Oregon tend to have lower socioeconomic status (SES) than non-Latinos. When Latinos live in urban areas they’re more likely to be surrounded by other people with lower SES, and when they live in rural areas they’re more likely to be surrounded by people with higher SES. This suggests that inequality by ethnicity among neighbors is higher in rural parts of the state.

 

Evidence to support this nugget:

Evidence

1. Latinos have lower socioeconomic status than non-Latinos in Oregon.

According to the American Community Survey, between 2006 and 2010, in Oregon:

  • 55% of all adult Latinos had a high school education or higher compared to 91% of non-Latino adults;
  • The median income among Latino households was about $37,000, while it was $45,000 for non-Latinos;
  • The mean earnings among Latino full-time, year-round workers was $18,530 while it was $23,758 for non-Latino full-time, year-round workers;
  • 26% of Latinos were in poverty, compared to 12% of non-Latino whites

 

2. Socioeconomic status (SES) among rural Latinos (for whom we have data) is not that different from urban Latinos (for whom we have data)

According to the American Community Survey, between 2006 and 2010, in Oregon:

  • 46% of rural Latinos had a high school or greater education, and 42% of urban Latinos had a high school or greater education;
  • The median income among rural Latinos was $37,748, and among urban Latinos it was $37,448;
  • 25% of rural Latinos were in poverty, and 29% of urban Latinos were

 

3. Rural Latino-dominated communities (about 50% Latino) are different from urban Latino-dominated communities (also about 50% Latino)

According to the American Community Survey, between 2006 and 2010, in Oregon:

  • 75% of all people who lived in rural Latino census tracts had a high school education or greater, but only 61% of all people who lived in urban Latino census tracts had a high school education or greater;
  • The median income for all people who lived in rural Latino census tracts was $47,500, while it was $42,300 in urban Latino census tracts;
  • 14% of all people in rural Latino census tracts were poor, but 23% of all people in urban Latino tracts lived in poverty

Take-away

A take-away:

People of similar socioeconomic status tend to associate more easily and more frequently with one another; they share similar life experiences and cultures. Programs that seek to bring Latinos and non-Latinos together from across the state, should recognize that interactions will need to be carefully facilitated to bridge cultural differences associated with ethnicity and socioeconomic status. In urban neighborhoods, however, the differences will be less stark. And in rural communities you may need to bridge bigger ethnic and socioeconomic cultural differences between Latino and non-Latino neighbors.

What else do you take away from these findings?

5 thoughts on “Latinos in Oregon: Exploring rural and urban differences

  1. I’m confused by your statement: “And in rural communities you may need to bridge bigger ethnic and socioeconomic cultural differences between Latino and non-Latino neighbors.”

    If rural Latinos have higher education levels, higher median incomes, and less poverty than their urban counterparts, wouldn’t the differences be less stark with their rural neighbors?

    Reply
    • Kristi,
      Thanks for your question. The reason I said the differences between Latinos and non-Latinos will be bigger in rural communities is because rural Latinos do not have markedly higher educational attainment, higher income, or lower poverty than urban Latinos. Evidence point #2 clarifies this.

      I hope this helps!
      -Lena

      Reply
        • Ah, I see. A census tract is an area of land designated by the US Census Bureau. In urban areas, census tracts roughly approximate neighborhoods. See their definition here: http://www.census.gov/geo/reference/gtc/gtc_ct.html

          In a nutshell: Census tracts are units of geography. They cover the entire United States, so that no area of land is not included in a census tract area. They respect county and state boundaries, and often non-legal boundaries like Interstate highways, rivers, and mountain ranges. They typically contain between 1,200 and 8,000 people, with an optimal size of 4,000.

          Does this help?

          Reply
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