A year after outbreak, Latinos still reeling, but optimistic


PHOENIX — Latinos in the U.S. were hard hit by the pandemic both financially and personally, but many feel generally optimistic that the worst is behind them, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

The study published on Thursday surveyed 3,375 Latinos in the U.S. in March. It comes as coronavirus infections are on the upswing in the U.S. again. The study found what many have been reporting since the pandemic took full swing in early 2020 — that Latinos suffered job and wage losses and had high rates of infection and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Latinos were more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as whites.

Just over half of those surveyed said a family member of close friend had been either hospitalized or died from the coronavirus. Many work in jobs that required them to interact with the public.

Still, about half said they were optimistic about the future, and 65% said the worst of the pandemic is behind them, up from 23% in April 2020.

Notably, Latinos — especially those who do not have lawful permanent residency — experienced high rates of job or wage losses in the beginning of the pandemic but are starting to rebound. The unemployment rate for Latinos in June was 7.3%, down significantly from the high of 18.5% in April 2020, just after the major shutdowns began.

Latinas had the highest unemployment rate of any other group in April 2020, a staggering 20%. While many Latinos have begun to rebound, it’s Latinas who have struggled to regain footing.

“The economy is opening up and the economy is growing quite rapidly, so it’s possible the financial situation of Latinos is improving and we did find that about half of Latinos say they expected their financial situation and the situation with their family to be better a year from now,” said Jens Manuel Krogstad, one of the study’s authors.

Krogstad said that his team wanted to look at how Latinos were doing a year into the pandemic, having seen the high rates of unemployment and health disparities over the last year.

“Latinos in our survey confirmed that this was in fact the case, but we also dug a little deeper,” Krogstad said.

The survey found that Latinos had stepped in to help friends and relatives financially and in other ways even when dealing with their own hardships.

Nearly two-thirds of Latinos said they helped or sent money to friends, family or charity organizations.

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