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Views from Latino America, Begins Today


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NPR News Series Begins Today, Based on Poll from NPR,

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health


Poll Identifies Diabetes as Top Health Concern


January 21, 2014; Washington, D.C. – By 2040, Latinos are predicted to be the largest ethnic population in the United States. A new poll of the views and experiences of Latino Americans, released today from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, shows that this community is actually several communities based on heritage and home country – and with viewpoints as varied as the group’s diversity. The poll parsed responses from six separate Latino groups, and also compared the experiences of Latinos born in the U.S. with immigrants.


NPR News explores the findings of this poll in a series, Views from Latino America, beginning today. Pieces are being reported by Code Switch, the NPR team covering race, ethnicity and culture, along with reporters from the Science and National desks. Coverage will air all week on both Morning Edition and All Things Considered, with additional perspective at NPR’s Code Switch blog. Follow the conversations @nprcodeswitch and #LatinoViews.


The poll surveyed the life and experiences of nearly 1500 Latino Americans. Results are focused on the entire group, as well as six distinct subgroups: those of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American or South American heritage. The poll also examined the views of Latinos born in the United States and those born in other countries.


NPR’s series will cover some of the most revealing aspects of the poll. All reports will be at NPR.org, where there are full poll results in both English and Spanish. Among the findings and reports:


Personal Lives


Self-identification: Karen Grigsby Bates, of Code Switch, unearths information about how Latinos self-identify – from political perspective to country of origin to racially. Respondents indicated a preference for Hispanic over Latino, although the vast majority (52%) indicated no preference.


Language: The poll found that Puerto Ricans on the mainland are less likely to speak Spanish in the home (only 20%), compared to other subgroups. On the island, Spanish prevails. 78% of Puerto Ricans participated in the poll in English, more than all the other groups by a significant amount. Shereen Marisol Meraji reports on how this impacts they way they view themselves culturally.


Economics: Cuban-Americans, who for decades have outpaced other subgroups economically, report greater concerns about their finances and unemployment in this poll. One reason appears to be their concentration in South Florida, which was especially hard-hit in the recession and collapse of the housing market, as Greg Allen reports.


Sexuality: Jasmine Garsd, host of NPR Music’s Alt.Latino, explores differences in attitudes about sexuality between U.S.-born Latinos and their immigrant parents. In this poll, some 15% of immigrants declined to reveal their sexual orientation, compared with just one percent of U.S.-born Latinos.




Nearly one in five (19%) Latinos said diabetes is the biggest health problem facing their families. NPR’s Patti Neighmond looks at dietary changes once people immigrate – and how the overall diet of Latinos is less healthy in the U.S. that it is in their countries of origin.


Quality of Life


When asked to rate aspects of their communities, significant numbers of total Latinos give low ratings in several areas. Four in ten Latinos (40%) report that the quality of available housing in the area where they live is fair or poor.


Over a third of all Latinos rate the public transportation system (36%), availability of recreational facilities for exercise and sports (36%), and safety from crime (34%) in their communities as fair or poor.


Three in ten rate the cleanliness of the streets and maintenance of public areas as fair or poor (30%), and about one in four rate the availability of preventive services (27%) and the quality of emergency services, such as police, fire, and ambulance (23%), as fair or poor.


The poll is part of an ongoing series of surveys conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health.





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