tv Maria Hinojosa One-on- One PBS July 30, 2016 4:00pm-4:31pm PDT
>> hinojosa: the 2010 census reported that one out of every six americans is latino. that's over 50 million latinos in the united states. up next, we sit down with the pew hispanic center's mark hugo lopez to talk about politics, economics, numbers, and the future of our country. i'm maria hinojosa. this is one on one. >> hinojosa: mark hugo lopez from the pew hispanic center, welcome to our program. >> thank you for having me. >> hinojosa: now, some people might be saying, "the pew hispanic center?" for those of us who work in and around latino media and latino issues, pew hispanic center carries a lot of weight. so, for those who don't know, what exactly is the
pew hispanic center? what is it that you do? >> we're a non-partisan, non-advocacy research organization based through washington, d.c. we're funded by the pew charitable trust out of philadelphia. and the pew hispanic center is actually part of a broader larger center called the pew research center. we do public opinion surveys, but we also do a lot of look at the demographics of the hispanic community. and one of our signature products actually is, how many unauthorized immigrants are there in the country. but our point is to provide facts. what do we know about the latino population in the us and how are they changing the us and how is the us changing them? >> hinojosa: so, results of the 2010 census. we're now talking about latinos being more than 50 million? >> that's correct, 50.5 million were counted in the 50 states plus the district of columbia. and when you include the island of puerto rico, you get about another 3.8 million latinos. so the hispanic population of the u.s. has grown tremendously, by about 43% over the last decade. and that growth alone actually has accounted for more than half of the nation's population
growth, so when we talk about us population growth, most of it was because of hispanic population growth. >> hinojosa: i did this test actually with some people who are not experts on latinos and i just said, "think of the state that over the past decade has had the largest percentage growth of latinos." and the first thing that people said, california, texas, well, you know, because we have these numbers out, that actually the number one state of the largest latino percentage growth was... >> south carolina. >> hinojosa: south carolina. and after south carolina... >> alabama. >> hinojosa: alabama. and these percentage growths we're talking about... >> more than double. so the population of hispanics in these states, in fact throughout the southeast, more than doubled in many places. now truly, when we talk about alabama, or we talk about south carolina, the hispanic populations there were were relatively small. 150,000 in 2000, for example, and it doubles to maybe 300,000 or so now.
now compare that to california. california is more than 14 million latinos. so the relative size is small. nonetheless, throughout the southeast, tennessee, kentucky, georgia, alabama, all throughout arkansas, all throughout the southeast, that's where we saw the fastest percentage growth in the hispanic population. but i want to point to one state, because there's one state that's really interesting, which is georgia. georgia didn't start from a small base. georgia started at about 450,000 latinos in 2000. it's now over 800,000. it nearly doubled during the decade. >> hinojosa: and actually, in the year 1990, georgia probably had a... >> relatively few. >> hinojosa: i mean, almost zero perc... i mean it was very, very small. >> it was like other southern states, with a small hispanic population. there was a hispanic presence, but it was a relatively small population. >> hinojosa: so what was surprising about these numbers for someone like you who looks at numbers? what actually was, like, you went, "wow, i didn't expect this"? >> well, i'd say the most interesting thing that i saw
throughout all of this was the growth in the southeast. but also the relative decline in the importance of california and texas. >> in the 1990s, about half of all latinos lived in california and texas. during this last decade, the population of latinos there grew, and in texas particularly this was important for gaining congressional seats. but nonetheless, now about 46% of the nation's hispanic population is in just those two states. so those two states are still very important, but they're no longer half or more than half of the nation's hispanic population. >> host: all right, now, i'm sure that a lot of people have an image when they hear this number of latino demographic growth. what do you think the image th people have of what is generating that demographic growth? >> the image that i pick up from people telling me about it across the country is an image that the hispanics are largely an immigrant community, and that it's a relatively recent arrival, which in many parts of the country is true. in many of these states where the hispanic population is
growing and growing rapidly, many latino community leaders there, business leaders, are coming together, hosting events in their states to talk about, "wow, look at the census numbers." the census numbers have shown that hispanics in state x, y, or z are growing, and it's a growing community around the state. there's also a growing business community and a growing community of people who are all working for the latino community in those states. so that's one reaction that i've had. another reaction that i have seen in terms of questions that i've received is, "why are they coming to this state? what is attracting them to this state? why are so many immigrants, particularly unauthorized immigrants particularly, in this particular community, or in this particular city?" so that's the... on the other side, some of the questions that i get about this trend. >> hinojosa: do you find, mark, that sometimes these questions come with just a little bit of fear?
you know, why are they here? how long are they going to stay? it's changed everything, and i'm not so sure how i feel about that. >> it is interesting to see how americans have reacted to immigrants in the united states in their views of immigrants. at the pew research center we have done a number of surveys asking americans generally about, "are immigrants a strength or are they a burden to our country?" and americans are split on it. it's about 44 to 45 for strength versus burden. >> hinojosa: wow. >> but that's a change. in the 1990s, americans were more likely to say that immigrants were a burden to the us, not a strength. >> hinojosa: in the 1990s they thought... >> yes. so there's been a change, at least in the trends that we have seen and the numbers that we have been collecting over the last two decades suggesting that actually more americans now are seeing immigrants as a strength. when you take a look at young people, young people particularly are likely to see immigrants as a strength for the country. but we wanted to look a little deeper in this survey. and one of the questions that we asked was, "what is it about
immigration that concerns you? is it that immigrants use government services? is it that immigrants take jobs? is it that immigrants are coming to this country and may change the culture of america? >> what we found is we found that the number one thing that americans pointed to was they're worried that immigrants are a burden to local government services-- to schools and to hospitals. that was the number one reason, followed by jobs. the question about affecting american culture was much farther down the list, with less than ten percent of americans citing that as the number one concern they had with regards to immigration. >> hinojosa: when you look at this number of 50.5 million latinos in the united states, break down that number. who makes up that number? >> well, when we talk about the hispanic origins of all of these latinos in the united states, mexican americans are the nation's largest hispanic group. they represent nearly two-thirds of all hispanics, about 32 million people. that's followed by puerto ricans at about nine percent, cuban americans about about three and
a half percent, salvadorans at about three and a half percent as well-- they're very close in number-- and dominicans also at about three percent. so when we talk about the hispanic community, it is made up of people mostly from mexico, or of mexican origin, but there's a lot of diversity, particularly on the east coast. in cities like boston or in new york or in chicago, you've got diversity within the latino community. and you take a look at los angeles, there's a lot of diversity there as well. but just as with chicago, mexican americans are dominant in those two cities. >> hinojosa: how many of those 50.5 million latinos were born in the united states? >> more than six in ten were born in the united states. so right now about 62% is what the number is. we had been at a high of about 40% earlier in the decade, but as births play a larger role in population growth for hispanics, the share of hispanics who are foreign born is actually going to fall. we project that by 2050 the nation's hispanic population will be about one-third immigrant, or one-third foreign
born. right now we're at 38%, and we reached a high of 40% earlier in the decade. >> when people hear this number of, you know, 12 million, 11 million undocumented immigrants, most people assume that that number is all latino. is that number of undocumented immigrants, now 11.2 million... what is the percentage of latin americans who are part of that number of undocumented immigrants in this country? >> eight in ten of the nation's unauthorized immigrants are from latin america. but about 20% are from other parts of the world. and this is one of the interesting characteristics of the unauthorized immigrant population. it's not just about mexican unauthorized immigrants, or even unauthorized immigrants from central america. rather, there's also unauthorized immigrants from asia, from africa, from europe, from russia, from canada, from ireland, from vietnam, from india. they're from all over the world. and while hispanics or latino
origin unauthorized immigrants make up the vast majority of the unauthorized immigrant population, there is a diversity among this population, too. >> hinojosa: so i find it really interesting, mark, because, you know, you devote your life right now to being a professor and to looking at numbers. but in fact, you know, we have a lot of people on our show that are devoted to trying to break down numbers and make them very human stories, whether they're artists or writers. and your very personal story is one that i think is interesting, because in a lot of ways you kind of symbolize the kind of typical latino experience in the sense of... well, your story of your... tell us the story of your parents, who both were born in the united states, children of immigrants from mexico. so what do you think... and yet you were the first one of your family to go away to college. >> yes. >> so paint a picture of your own story and how you think that reflects a more realistic picture of who latinos are in
our country. or is it unrealistic? you know, is yours the exception? >> well, i think that my story tells us a lot about the diversity of the latino community. the latino community is diverse in many different dimensions. and when it comes to, for example, generation or immigrant status, that's one dimension upon which the community is very diverse. mine is a story of a latino born in the us to us born parents who came... who were born to immigrant parents, who arrived leaving mexico because of the mexican revolution. my experience is also one where i grew up in a community where being chicano and being aware of your chicano identity was very important. but latinos were nowhere near the size nationally, not even in california, that they are today. so really it was a locally concentrated identity, because it was really about being from california to a large extent. i didn't realize that at the time, but traveling around the
country i realized the chicano, chicano movement, really seemed to be los angeles and california. >> hinojosa: and probably it's worth it just for audience members who don't know that term. what is chicano? you say that you were part of a chicano movement, chicano identified city. so define chicano. >> chicano and the chicano movement during the 1960s was a movement of mexican americans, primarily, many of whom were college students, who were pushing for civil rights for the latino community in california, but nationwide as well. the term chicano actually has many different connotations, and many different folks view it in differen for me it has always been a term that reflects an awareness of where you've come from and where your community is trying to go. and it's that particular part that was something my father instilled in me a lot, and it was part of our regular discussions of what it meant to grow up latino-- at the time we didn't use latino, we said chicano-- in california. so reading chicano literature,
listening to mariachi music, and being aware of that were all things that were part of my growing up experience. >> hinojosa: right, but when you ended up going to berkeley, you had an experience that was interesting, which is the more radicalized latinos and chicanos at berkeley look at you and said that weren't chicano enough. >> yes. and that was an eye opener, an eye opener in many ways. and even just being at berkeley i realized that i wasn't quite as activist, i wasn't quite as political, as many students at cal were. >> hinojosa: and you were actually having these conversations around the dinner table with your dad in terms of identity, and still you went, and people were like, "well, you're not political enough." >> that's right. and that was... like i said, it was a real eye opener. but one other thing that happened at berkeley that i thought was really... that's really, really something i'm happy that it happened was that having grown up in a household where we read a lot of chicano literature, like bless me, ultima, for example, and then going to berkeley and not having read a lot of the classic literature that a lot of people
had read, i felt very different from my dormmates on the dorm floor. but i... at first i was a little bit unsure about my experience. i had a different experience. i'm not aware of all these pieces of literature that everybody else was talking about. however, i found strength in the latino experience and the chicano literature that i had had ultimately being able to play a role in helping me to write better papers, helping me to be a better student, and look at things from a different perspective, even though at times i felt like i hadn't quite learned what i needed to know in order to be able to answer questions in an english class about particular literature that everybody else seemed to have come with some knowledge of. >> hinojosa: so in a lot of ways, that was reaffirming that your latino experience actually meant that you brought something positive to the table. >> that's right. >> hinojosa: something that... so i wonder about the fear issue. i want to come back to that. because i think that you're right. there are a lot of questions. and i'm wondering how you at pew hispanic feel that you can best help our country in a moment
when there is a lot of divided feeling around the growth of the latino population. >> our role at the pew hispanic center and the pew research center more broadly is to provide facts and to provide information. we want it, of course, to be timely, and we want to do things that are going to be relevant for the debates, or relevant for what people are talking about at the moment. so with regards to latinos, and particularly the upcoming election, we're very interested in continuing to see how latinos feel about a wide range of issues, immigration particularly, but also the economy. we're also concerned about the economic situation of latinos-- how are they doing in the recovery, how are households doing with regards to accumulation of wealth, how are they doing with regards to unemployment? so all these are things that we want to continue to tell the story of the latino community in many different respects, but of course we want it to be timely and relevant. >> hinojosa: all right, so you're also gearing up for politics. that's going to be happening a
lot, coming up soon. so what's the sense of what's happening with the latino electorate? is there a broad concern... and the concern would be, will latinos actually be enthusiastic enough for either party to come out and vote? and has something really happened with the latino voter whe immigration now is in fact the number one issue? are those two things happening at the same time? >> they are happening at the same time. but let's get some facts on the table about the latino electorate. in 2010 there were 21 million... more than 21 million latinos who were eligible to vote. what i mean by that is that they were at least 18 years of age, and they were also us citizens. one characteristic of the hispanic population that makes it different from other groups is that a small share, less than half, of the latino population in the us is eligible to vote. for whites, it's up to 78%. for blacks, two-thirds. for asians, more than half. and the reason for this is that
among latinos, many are under 18. more than a third of the hispanic populations is under 18. and many are adults, but are not us citizens. so when we talk about the hispanic electorate, it's one that's growing, it's changing the demographics of the nation's eligible voter pool, but a lot of that growth and a lot of that change is yet to come. it'll come in the next two to three decades as many young latinos turn 18 and eventually become eligible to vote. >> hinojosa: all right. so if you look at the numbers from a kind of cold, calculated perspective, then whether you're a republican or democrat, do you just kind of say, "well, yes, we know that the latino population is growing, we can see the numbers, we get it, but we can probably get away with not dealing with it head-on just quite yet," which is the same thing that the latino kind of community has been hearing decade after decade? is there still, from a numbers place, in terms of voters and turnout and actually swinging elections, is there still a
sense of, "we can buy ourselves a little bit of time," or do you believe, no, no, no, this is the crucial moment right now? you must in fact be securing the latino electorate for now and for the next two decades in the future? >> when you take a look at latino voters and the number of latino voters over the last few presidential and midterm election cycles, one pattern is pretty consistent, and it's a pattern that's very interesting. more latinos vote in each election. each election cycle, whether midterm or presidential, you compare 2008 to 2004, more hispanic voters. 2010 to 2006, more hispanic voters. and that's going to likely continue, because of so much population growth. so the hispanic vote is growing, and it's not only changing the demographics of eligible voters, but also changing the demographics of who actually votes on election day. but here's the other interesting part. you asked me whether or not this is the moment, is this the time? i think this is a gradual process, but because hispanics
are a presence in many states, like in nevada, like in colorado, like in new mexico, like in florida, which have been battleground states, in those cases, the hispanic electorate, while not the majority of voters in those states, but a significant share of the voters in those states, could potentially play a bigger role. and it seems as if politicians have paid more attention to hispanics in recent election cycles then was the case, say, in the 1990s. but it is a reflection of the population growth that we see. a lot of growth, more voters, more eligible voters, and in places around the country where now the hispanic vote is, or hispanic electorate has grown to be more than just five percent of the electorate. >> hinojosa: all right, do you see the parties engaging? >> when we think about what the parties have done, taking a look at 2008, it was clear that the democrats did more to reach out to hispanic voters than the republicans. so when it comes to... from the point of view of the latino voter and the latino electorate,
the democrats are seen as the party that has more concern for hispanics. when it comes to what parties have actually done, our post election survey of 2008 suggested that the obama campaign had done more to reach out to hispanics in both languages, for example, than the mccain campaign had done during 2008. >> hinojosa: so it's really whoever wants that, wants those numbers, wants those voters, they just have to really go after them. >> there's a tremendous amount of potential, yes. tremendous amount of potential. >> hinojosa: so what do we need to be focusing on? i guess, you know, there are so many issues, so much concern. i mean, and again, you look at the big number issues. but what do you think that, on a community basis, people should be thinking about? because clearly your numbers are showing, the census is showing, that this is a very different country. >> mm-hmm. >> hinojosa: so... and you've lived through this yourself, you know, very personally. so kind of bring it down to one on one, individual kind of...
what we need to be thinking about. >> hinojosa: this is something that a lot of the research of the center points to many different things. when it comes to education, because so many young... so many latinos are under the age of 18. many latinos have young families with children in schools. and in some of the polling we have done throughout the decade, education has been one of the top issues for hispanics overall. education and helping young latinos make it through either high school or into college or beyond are things that many latinos tell us that they're concerned about. more so than the general public, hispanics say education is important for success in life. hispanic parents, according to hispanic young people, are talking about college as the number one thing that their children should do. and when it comes to some of the reasons why they're not in school, because many are not in school, some of the reasons they give to us are, "i need to support family." but nonetheless, many hispanics, hispanic parents, are putting an
emphasis on education. education is something that, for many, is important for success. >> hinojosa: except i have to stop you, because you know what the dropout rates are for latinos. so on the one hand you're saying that latino families, latino parents, care about education. on the other hand, we're seeing that you have a 50% dropout rate amongst latino teenagers, more or less. >> that's right. and... but that dropout rate is... it's an interesting number, but it reflects a couple of different things. if we take a look at those latinos who are of the second generation, the children of immigrants, their dropout rates look a lot like they are generally for the us, for the general us public or the general us population of young people. same thing for the third generation young latino, although their dropout rates are slightly higher than they are for second generation young latinos. immigrant young latinos are less likely to have a high school diploma. and they may have completed all the education they needed to complete in their countries. they came to the us, but they didn't come to the us necessarily to go to school here. they came here to pursue job opportunities in the us. so when we talk about the
dropout rate, there has been progress. more latinos than ever are graduating from high school. however, it is still a higher dropout rate than it is for other groups in the us. >> hinojosa: so given this kind of drama in terms of the numbers, so who's being forward thinking in terms of actually creating programs that are sustainable, that are giving, reaching this latino youth, and creating kind of support structures? i mean, if there's a kind of values decision in terms of the parents that they want to support it, but maybe there's a financial piece that's missing, are there organizations out there that you think are being forward thinking in terms of, "well, what we really need to do is we need to prop this community up in terms of education, in terms of leadership development"? >> there are many organizations that are out there that are doing that. and in some of the work that i have done in the economist community as one of the former presidents of the american society of hispanic economists, we actually worked hard to get young latinos who are high school students to be interested
in careers in economics, to get college students who are latino but also currently economics majors interested in pursuing a ph.d. in economics. but our efforts are not unique. there are efforts across the country like this in many different respects. latino organizations are doing many things do work on getting young latinos to go to college, complete school, helping them with finances. on the other hand, there are many non latino organizations which are also doing work to get more latinos, say, into the federal government work force. when i was a professor at maryland, one of the summer programs we had was a summer program that was funded by the department of education, but also through the united negro college fund special programs, that was directed at getting more students of color into careers in the foreign service. now, it was a program that was run by the united negro college fund, but its purpose was to g latino, asian, african american, and also white students as well from many different backgrounds,
into careers of public service, because it was important to diversify the foreign service, particularly those who are representing the us abroad, as much as possible. >> hinojosa: all right, so on any given day, mark hugo lopez, numbers guy, economist, positive, or glass is still half empty? >> i'm positive about the latino community, and i think that the story is still being told. we haven't seen the entire story work itself out yet. there are so many dynamic things happening within the community, just on population growth and change alone, that it's hard to draw a firm conclusion today about how successful or unsuccessful, or how well has the latino community done. i think much of what will happen over the next century, actually, is going to be a story where latinos will play a larger role for the us and the story of the us, but also the us will affect and change latinos in many ways. how, i don't know yet, but i think the story is actually still being told. >> hinojosa: all right, well,
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