Skip to main content

Latinos Today Are More Worried About Their Place in the U.S.

Most of them say Trump is to blame for rising pessimism and fear.
Girls wave Puerto Rican flags during the 2009 Street Festival in Spanish Harlem in New York City.

Girls wave Puerto Rican flags during the 2009 Street Festival in Spanish Harlem in New York City.

Being Latino in the United States is harder today than it was a year ago, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. The report, which is based on a bilingual survey of over 1,500 Hispanic and Latino adults over the last few months, identifies increasing pessimism among Latinos about their place in America—even more than they felt soon after President Donald Trump was elected.

Here's what you need to know about the survey.

Nearly Half of Latinos Say Their Situation Has Grown Worse in the Last Year

Forty-seven percent answered that the situation for Latinos in this country today is worse than one year ago—up from 32 percent after Trump's election. Close to one in four have been reprimanded for speaking Spanish in public, and those who primarily speak Spanish were more likely to have reported discrimination. And a majority—55 percent—say they worry about being deported or seeing a loved one deported, regardless of their own immigration status, especially as stories of family separation, child abuse, protection rollbacks, and more dominate the news. Research shows that stress takes a toll on mental health too.

With all that in mind, a majority say it's harder to be Latino in the U.S. today than it was a few years ago, and especially among foreign-born adults, there's a distinct sense that race and language single them out from other Americans. The sentiment is more pronounced among women than men. Close to 40 percent of all participants reported a racist incident in the last year—and the number was higher for immigrants.

Most Blame Trump for the Decline in Their Well-Being

Two-thirds of the entire group say Trump's policies have hurt them. Immigrants and their children are especially inclined to agree: Seven in 10 immigrant Latinos say the Trump administration's policies have harmed the group as a whole; 63 percent of second-generation Latinos say the same. In comparison, in 2007, only 41 percent said George W. Bush's policies were harmful to Latinos in 2007.

The Group Isn't a Monolith

Close to one in four Latinos surveyed described themselves as leaning toward or as members of the Republican Party. That group has a very different outlook on the situation: Almost 60 percent approve of Trump's performance, and only 28 percent feel the situation has grown worse in the last year. Only 31 percent of Latino Republicans think Trump's actions are hurting the group. Additionally, 46 percent feel confident about their place in the U.S.

Still, Many Remain Optimistic About America

Although Latinos as a whole are less confident about their place in the U.S., a large majority of those born in Puerto Rico or other countries told Pew that, if given the choice again, they'd still move to mainland America, and that there's more opportunity here than in their original homes.

Among registered voters, there has been a dramatic increase in political engagement—52 percent have thought "quite a lot" about the upcoming mid-terms, up 16 percentage points from 2014. Over half say they're more enthusiastic about voting in these mid-terms than the last ones. And despite the reports of racist incidents and dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, 82 percent said they were both proud to be Latino and proud to be American, and a whopping 97 percent are proud of their Latino identity.