Between Two Worlds: How Young Latinos Come of Age in America

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Pew Hispanic Center

Latino youth are more likely than other American youth to drop out of school, become teenage parents, and become affiliated with gangs, according to a new Pew Research Center report. The report found also that despite the optimism that Latino youth express about their future, they are more likely to engage in these risky behaviors than their counterparts.

Latinos are the largest and youngest minority group in America. The study examines their attitudes, behaviors, family characteristics, economic well-being, educational attainment and labor force outcomes. Latino youths ages 16 to 25 were questioned about their goals, upbringing and dominant languages. The youths were also questioned on their beliefs and opinions about politics and current social issues.

The discrepancy between Latino youths’ expectations and their performance in society is not uncommon to the immigrant experience, according to the survey. But the majority of Latino youth are native-born.

Significant discrepancies occur between native-born Latino youth and foreign-born youth. Native-born Latino youth are twice as likely to have proficiency in English; they are less likely to drop out school, more likely to enroll in college and less likely to live in poverty and become teen parents than foreign-born Latinos. The majority of native-born Latino youth expressed positive expectations about securing financial stability that is greater than that of their parents.

Free. 162 pages. http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/117.pdf.