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Already the largest and still-growing U.S. racial/ethnic minority, Latinos are a diverse people with distinct differences in origin, language use, and family characteristics.
But what are the true Latino family dynamics?
New research has confirmed what many already knew about Latino families: they are tightly-knit, resilient, and generally stable, according to a new report by the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families.
The report, La Familia: Latino Families Strong and Stable, Despite Limited Resources, is among the first to give the complete “breakdown” of Latino households, examining data about mothers, fathers, and children.
It indicates, after analyzing data available through 2010, that “Latino families have many of the traits children need to develop into healthy and successful adults.”
“These new studies come at a time when public discourse sometimes portrays Latinos in an unflattering light—yet this new research finds that Latino families are resilient and stable, despite many having low levels of income and education,” according to the series. “This is true for Latinos in general, but especially for Latino immigrant families.”
When it comes to Latina mothers, the report found that the first five years of their child’s lives are “marked by relatively high levels of family stability and low levels of stress.”
Both foreign and U.S.-born Latina mothers experience high levels of co-parenting support and low-levels of economic stress. Also, low-income, immigrant Latina mothers are less likely than their U.S.-born Latina, white, and black counterparts.
In the study of Latino fathers, they face many challenges – especially immigrant Latino fathers – but also exhibit many strengths.
Most Latino fathers live with all their children and most are currently married or living with their partner. The major of all Latino fathers are employed or working regularly.
Also, most Latino fathers have low-income jobs and few have obtained education beyond high school. This often limits their families’ chances for economic mobility.
For Latino kids, the report mainly focused on Latino boys.
The researchers found that Latino boys have the cognitive and social-emotional skills necessary to be successful academically. They live in homes with high levels of functioning families in spite of having access to fewer parental resources.
However, there were some disparities found; preschool age Latino boys lag behind their white male and Latina female peers on every academic measure (math, reading, and language skills). They do not lag in social skills though.
Read more about the reports and their findings here.