Men looking for labor jobs stand along a street in Brooklyn, New York on April 3, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
A new report released on Wednesday by the Census Bureau shows that the number of Latinos in poverty in the United States dropped 1.2 percent, Fox News Latino reported on Thursday.
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According to the report, the unemployment rate remained high and the median household income dropped 1.5 percent in 2011 than in the previous year. However, the number of Latinos in poverty fell from 13,522,000 to 13,244,000, or 26.5 percent to 25.3 percent, Fox News Latino said.
The report provided a confusing image of the economic well being of Hispanics in the U.S. just weeks before the presidential election in November. Both presidential candidates state that Latino voters and the economy are among their top priorities.
According to Fox News Latino, the overall poverty rate has remained unchanged at 15 percent, although consensus estimates were predicted to be much worse. The report listed New Mexico, Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina with the highest rate of poor people.
A University of Michigan economist Sheldon Danziger told Fox News Latino, "This is good news and a surprise." Danziger said a continuing boost from new unemployment benefits and job gains in the private sector were responsible.
"It would indicate the stimulus was even more effective than believed," he added.
Fellow economist from the University of Chicago, Bruce D. Meyer, however, did not share Danziger's enthusiasm. Meyer told Fox News Latino, "The drop in the unemployment rate has been due in significant part to workers leaving the labor force, because they are discouraged, back in school, taking care of family or other reasons."
According to Fox News Latino, the poverty level is based on government calculations that only include income before tax deductions and excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth.
The chief of the Census Bureau's household economics division, David Johnson, told Fox News Latino that he attributed the new poverty numbers to an increase in full-time workers over the past year.
Despite these gains, an average of 1 in 4 Latinos continues to be among America's poorest.