1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001


NiLP Latino Datanote

A Socioeconomic Profile of NYC Mayor de Blasio's Latino New York City

By Angelo Falcón

The NiLP Report

With NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio giving his State of the City Address, promoting his vision for making it the "fairest big city in America," we thought it would be useful to assess the state of the city's Latino population since his election in 2013 from a largely empirical perspective. Using statistics from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), which is based on samples of the population, we were able to compare some characteristics of the Latino population between 2013 and 2016, before Mayor de Blasio's election and three years into his Administration. While there are other Census data sets that look at such issues as voting and business development, the analysis that follows limits itself to those areas covered by the ACS.

Whether the good or bad things affecting Latinos reported here are the responsibility of Mayor de Blasio is up for discussion. Many of the demographic changes are clearly beyond his control, especially for the limited three year period examined in this report. But others are open for debate in assessing the Mayor's policies and management. However, as the statistics reviewed in this report clearly show, the "tale of two cities" problem that Mayor de Blasio has identified as a priority of his Administration is most dramatically represented by the generally and persistently low socioeconomic status of the city's Latino community.










PopPopulation.According to Census estimates, the Latino population in New York City grew from 2,428,756 to 2,489,090 between 2013 and 2016, now making up 29.2 percent of the city's total population. It is important to note that the city's Latino population is different from the national Latino population, which is majority Mexican and Mexicans-American, by being majority Caribbean, mostly Dominican and Puerto Rican.

At 32.7 years, Latinos remained the youngest population group in the city, compared to 36.2 years for the city as a whole. Reflecting this youthfulness, for those 18 years and under in the city, 35.5 percent were Latinos.

Regarding the most vulnerable type of household, the percentage headed by single Latinas is 27.0 percent, compared to 17.3 percent for the city as a whole. Between 2013 and 2016, the percentage of single Latina-headed households dropped from 29 to 27 percent. Those currently married Latinos are 34.2 percent of total Latino households, compared to 39.4 percent for the city as a whole.

The high percentage of Latina-headed households is important to acknowledge because this household type is more prone to negative economic and social pressures requiring greater government support. For example, the Latino poverty rate is extraordinarily high for female-headed households with children, 45.9 percent.

The number of Latinos who are foreign-born noncitizens is 576,648, which represents 56.1 percent of total Latino foreign-born. This compares to 45.1 percent of all foreign-born in the city. Of the city's total non-citizen foreign-born population, Latinos make up 40.0 percent.

HousingHousing. Among the Latino renters, 59.7 percent pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent. This is in comparison to 54.1 percent for the city as a whole. The percentage of Latinos paying 50 percent or more of their income for rent is 33.3 percent, compared to 29.8 percent for the city as a whole.

The percentage of Latinos owning their own homes is 16.0 percent, compared to 32.0 percent of the city as a whole. Latino homeowners are only 12.5 percent of all homeowners in the city.

There is a dramatic example of the impact of gentrification on Latinos in the case of Brooklyn. The Census Bureau found that the Latino population declined for the first time in Brooklyn, the epicenter of gentrification in the city. Between 2015 and 2016, the Latino population in Brooklyn went from 513,242 to 505,183, a drop of 1.6 percent, while the Latino population grew in the rest of the city. This provides a disturbing window into the possible future of the city's Latino population if the city's affordable housing program does not take into account community calls for much deeper affordability than is currently being planned.

EducationEducation. In the area of education, Latino school enrollment increased between 2013 and 2016 from 674,991 to 685,371, a 1.5 percent increase. Latinos represent 33.1 percent of all persons enrolled in school in the city. The percentage of Latinos enrolled in pre-school programs increased from 6.3 to 6.8 percent between 2013 and 2016. Latinos currently make up the largest segment of the city's public schools, representing 40 percent of all of its students. Despite being such a large part of the public school student enrollment, the percentage of Latino teachers remains at a low 14 percent.

Latinos with less than a high school diploma among those 25 years and older decreased from 34.4 percent to 32.1 percent between 2013 and 2016. This current 32.1 percent for Latinos, however, compares to only 18.5 percent for the city as a whole. While 17.3 of Latinos had a bachelor's degree and above, this is in contrast to 37.0 percent for the city as a whole in 2016.

Regarding language use, 877,145 Latinos indicated that they speak English "not very well." This represents 47.6 percent of all those who do not speak English very well in the city as a whole.

EmploymentEmployment.The vast majority of Latino workers in the city are overwhelmingly in the private sector, 82.0percent. This a higher percentage than for the city as a whole, 80.4 percent. The next highest employment sector for Latinos is government, 11.3 percent, a rate lower than the 13.1 percent for the city as a whole.

The 1,200,002 Latinos in the city's workforce represent a labor force participation rate of 62.6 percent among those 16 years and older. This compares with a labor force participation rate for the city as a whole of 63.8 percent. The percentage of Latinos as a share of the city's total labor force is 27.7 percent.

The 99,681 Latinos who were unemployed in 2016 were 5.2 percent of those 16 years and older, and were 33.5 percent of the total unemployed in the city.

In the higher status occupations in management, business, science, and arts occupations, 22.8 percent of Latinos held jobs in these occupations, compared to 40.8 percent of those 16 and older for the city as a whole. In the lower status service occupations, 34.4 percent Latinos held those, compared to 22.8 percent of all those 16 years and older for the city as a whole. Latinos in the higher status occupations were only 14.9 percent of those holding these jobs in the city as a whole, while for the lower status jobs, the Latino share of the total was 40.3 percent.

Regarding class of worker, 11.3 percent of Latinos 16 years and older were government workers. This compares to 13.1 percent for the city as a whole. Of the city's government workers, Latinos make up 23.0 percent of the total. Looking specifically at New York City government, although 27.7 percent of the city's labor force, Latinos make up only 19.7 percent of the city government workforce. There is also a major gender imbalance in city employment of Latinos: Latinas make up 60.9 percent of Latino city employees and Latino men only 39.1 percent, according to the city's 2017 EEO report.

IncomeIncome. Between 2013 and 2016, the median household income for Latinos rose from $36,196 to $39,410, an 8.9 percent increase. However, Latino median household income represents only 67.0 percent of the median household income in 2016 for the city as a whole.

Regarding earnings, income derived from work, these increased for Latinos from $58,725 to $65,140, a 10.9 percent increase. These 2016 earnings, however, only represented 64.4 percent of those for the city as a whole.

Latina single-headed households had a median income of $28, 563 in 2016. This is only 48.5 percent of the median household income for the city as a whole, and 74.3 percent of that of all female-headed households in the city.

PovertyPoverty. The poverty rate for Latino families is 23.7 percent, compared to 15.5 percent for the city as a whole. As already mentioned above, the Latino poverty rate is extraordinarily high for female-headed households with children, 45.9 percent. This compares to a 38.8 poverty rate for total female-headed households with children in the city. The poverty rate is lowest, 11.7 percent, for Latino married couples with children under 5 years of age.

Unmarried Latinas who gave birth in the past year among those 15-50 years of age totaled 16,826. This represents 47.5 percent to all women in this age group. A larger percentage of Latino grandparents live with children, 6.4 percent, than the 4.6 percent for the city as a whole.

HealthHealth. The percentage of Latinos who indicated they had disabilities grew from 11.5 percent to 12.5 percent between 2013 and 2016. This compares to 11.0 percent for the city as a whole in 2016. Among the Latino elderly, 43.8 percent reported having a disability, compared to 36.6 percent for the city as a whole. Among the total city's elderly population with disabilities, Latinos make up 25.8 percent.

The percentage of Latinos with no health insurance is 11.9 percent, compared to 7.8 percent for the city as a whole. However, between 2013 and 2016, the percentage of Latinos with no health insurance went down from 19.6 percent to 11.9 percent. Latinos currently represent 44.6 percent of all persons in the city without health insurance.

DiscussionDiscussion. Has Mayor de Blasio had a significant impact on the socioeconomic status of Latinos in the city? This review reveals that while there are several areas where there has been some progress, the gaps between Latinos and the city as a whole remains large in all the areas examined here, such as poverty rates, income levels, educational attainment, housing rental costs, government employment, and others. If anything, these gaps are probably the most representative of the problem of the "tale of two cities" that de Blasio identified as a priority to address when he first ran for Mayor in 2013.

In closing, it is important to point out that the decline in the Latino population of Brooklyn for the first time is the most telling indicator of how all of these factors, under the force of gentrification; represent an existential threat to the future of the city's Latino population. Are Brooklyn's Latinos the canaries in the goldmine that we should be paying greater attention about the seriousness of the problem? Will Mayor de Blasio finally acknowledge this problem in his second term and develop strategies to address it? Only time will tell.

Angelo Falcón is President of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP). He is co-editor of the reader, Latinos in New York: Communities in Transition, 2nd Edition, published by the University of Notre Dame this year. He can be reached at afalcon@latinopolicy.org.


"The NiLP Statistical Abstract of Latino New York" By Angelo Falcón (New York: National Institute for Latino Policy, March 2016)


The NiLP Report on Latino Policy & Politics is an online information service provided by the National Institute for Latino Policy. For further