Research: Discrimination Impacts Life, Health Outcomes for Latinos

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This is part of the Salud America! Achieving a Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities: A Research Review»

The Impact of Discrimination is Far-Reaching for Latinos, Other People of Color

The collective findings on the impacts of discrimination on education, opportunity, and health are critical for people of color.

Overall, more Americans say that being Latino hurts people’s ability to get ahead in this country (51%) than say it helps (18%) or that it neither helps nor hurts (30%), according to 2019 and 2020 Pew Research Center surveys.39,40

Among Latinos themselves, about 23% say being Latino has hurt their ability to get ahead at least a little. More Latinos than Whites also say they have been treated unfairly in hiring, pay, or promotion (26% to 19%), or have been unfairly stopped by police (19% to 9%), although nearly half of blacks said the same.39 Latinos with darker skin, compared to Latinos with lighter skin, are more likely to fear for their personal safety (35% to 23%), say people acted as if they weren’t smart (55% to 36%), been treated in hiring, pay, or promotion (30% to 19%), and been unfairly stopped by police (24% to 11%).40

cyberbullying victim being video recorded on a smartphone by classmates discrimination latinosThese experiences of discrimination continue amid the novel coronavirus pandemic of 2020, as Latinos are more likely than their White peers to report negative experience s because of their race/ethnicity since the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey.41 Since the coronavirus outbreak, 27% of Latinos reported that people acted as if they were uncomfortable around them (compared to 13% of Whites), 15% of Latinos reported being subject to racial slurs (compared to 8% of Whites), and 10% of Latinos feared someone might physically threaten or attack them (compared to 9% of Whites). Also, 23% of Latinos say they worry a great deal or a fair amount that other people might be suspicious of them because of their race or ethnicity if they wear a mask or face covering when in stores or other businesses (compared to just 5% of Whites).41

Most people of color say they have experienced discrimination or have been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity from time to time or regularly, including 76% of Blacks and Asians and 58% of Latinos, compared to 33% of Whites.

Most Americans (57%) say the country’s bigger problem is people not seeing discrimination where it really exists, rather than people seeing racial discrimination where it really does not exist. Latinos are more likely than the overall population to believe this (67%).39

Quick links from our Research Review »

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References for this section »

39. Pew Research Center, Horowitz JM, Brown A, Cox K. Race in America 2019. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/04/09/race-in-america-2019/. Published April 9, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2020.

40. Pew Research Center, Parker K, Horowitz JM, Anderson M. Amid Protests, Majorities Across Racial, Ethnic Groups Express Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/06/12/amid-protests-majorities-across-racial-and-ethnic-groups-express-support-for-the-black-lives-matter-movement/. Published June 12, 2020. Accessed July 8, 2020.

41. Pew Research Center, Ruiz NG, Horowitz JM, Tamir C. Many Black, Asian Americans Say They Have Experienced Discrimination Amid Coronavirus. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/07/01/many-black-and-asian-americans-say-they-have-experienced-discrimination-amid-the-covid-19-outbreak/. Published July 1, 2020. Accessed July 8, 2020.

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