2008 National Survey of Latinos: Hispanics See Their Situation in U.S. Deteriorating; Oppose Key Immigration Enforcement Measures

  • September 18, 2008
  • By Mark Hugo Lopez and Susan Minushkin

Half (50%) of all Latinos say that the situation of Latinos in this country is worse now than it was a year ago, according to a new nationwide survey of 2,015 Hispanic adults conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center.

This pessimism is especially prevalent among immigrants, who account for 54% of all Hispanic adults in the United States. Fully 63% of these Latino immigrants say that the situation of Latinos has worsened over the past year. In 2007, just 42% of all adult Hispanic immigrants--and just 33% of all Hispanic adults--said the same thing.

These increasingly downbeat assessments come at a time when the Hispanic community in this country--numbering approximately 46 million, or 15.4% of the total U.S. civilian non-institutional population--has been hit hard by rising unemployment (Kochhar 2008) and stepped-up immigration enforcement.

In the survey, nearly one-in-ten Hispanic adults--native-born U.S. citizens (8%) and immigrants (10%) alike--report that in the past year the police or other authorities have stopped them and asked them about their immigration status.

Some Latinos are experiencing other difficulties because of their ethnicity. One-in-seven (15%) say that they have had trouble in the past year finding or keeping a job because they are Latino. One-in-ten (10%) report the same about finding or keeping housing.

On the question of immigration enforcement, Latinos disapprove of all five enforcement measures asked about in this survey--and generally do so by lopsided margins.

Read the full report 2008 National Survey of Latinos on the Pew Hispanic Center's Web site.