News Release

New Census Data on Poverty, Income and Health Coverage Shows Marked Progress for Latinos

Policies helping to boost Latino economic growth and well-being key to future progress

September 13, 2016

Camila Gallardo
(305) 215-4259

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data measuring poverty and income in the U.S. during 2015.  The numbers demonstrate that national poverty rates and income levels in the U.S. improved following what had been a four-year stretch of slow growth.  The figures include several bright spots for Latinos, including a decrease in the poverty rate from 23.6 percent in 2014, to 21.4 percent in 2015, the lowest the rate has been since 2006.  The new figures also show an increase in Latino median household income, which went up by 6.1 percent in one year. The median Latino household income now stands at $45,148, the highest median household income figure for Latinos since 2000. Latinos also experienced gains in health coverage in 2015. Between 2014 and 2015, Latinos experienced a decline in uninsurance by 3.6 points, the largest decline of any racial or ethnic group.

“We are encouraged to see that the latest numbers show a remarkable improvement for our community including a gain in income that is above the national average. This progress is evidence that the hard work of Latino families, alongside common sense policies that promote the Latino community’s long-term prosperity are working,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President, NCLR.    

Census data

While the new numbers are encouraging, with years of stalled growth, wages and financial insecurity for many Latinos, poverty remains an issue. It is important to note that Hispanics still have a poverty rate that is nearly double the national average. Future progress in this area depends heavily on continuing or expanding policies that can help Latinos find greater economic security. For example, Latinos are disproportionately concentrated in low-wage jobs; raising the federal minimum wage to $15 dollars would benefit at least 35 million Americans, including over eight million Latinos. Additionally, expanding the reach of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to benefit more low-income workers, including those without children or below 25 years of age, would also improve economic prospects for Hispanics.

“Poverty continues to be prevalent in our community and it is important that we continue to support policies that help more Americans improve their economic outlook. As we edge closer to the national elections, the economy remains a top priority for Latinos, as it is for most Americans.  Our community needs to ensure that our voices are heard this November and that Washington knows we will not accept a roll back of the policies that are helping more in our community thrive economically” said Rodriguez. 

NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Latinos. For more information on NCLR, please visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.