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February 2015Vol. 16, No. 1Family Structure Among Low-Income Hispanic Families

According to a recent brief from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families (the Center), Hispanics are currently the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the United States, accounting for 17 percent of the national population and 25 percent of children younger than 18 years old. However, there is a significant gap in knowledge about the family structure and dynamics of Hispanic families, and this lack of information can be problematic for programs and professionals who work with Hispanic clients. In order to assist in narrowing this gap and help family-serving professionals better understand the communities they serve, the Center created a research brief that presents a snapshot of current trends in family structure and formation among Hispanic families, with a particular focus on low-income families.

It is estimated that, of the Hispanic children currently living in the United States, about two-thirds live in low-income households and approximately one-third live in poverty. The Center used data collected from the 2006–10 National Survey of Family Growth, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, to examine data related to relationship and childbearing among a sample of low-income Hispanic men and women between the ages of 15 and 44 years. The study compares U.S.-born Hispanics to foreign-born Hispanics, and data for non-Hispanic white and black populations also were examined.

Findings show that there are some differences between foreign-born and U.S.-born Hispanics that can affect outcomes and service provision. For example, foreign-born Hispanic parents and families may have a more difficult time accessing services due to language or legal barriers. However, children born to foreign-born parents were more likely to be born into a two-parent household, which means more foreign-born fathers may be present to participate in family strengthening and preservation services.

To read more about the study and the implications of its findings, access Family Structure and Family Formation Among Low-Income Hispanics in the U.S. at (2 MB).