Racial Equity

Unlocking the Promise of Latinos in America

August 1, 2015  • Latinos and Society Program

“Why does the growth of the Latino demographic matter? Why am I as a non-Hispanic trying to help answer that question? My interest goes back 15 years to when I, as a member of the University of Texas Board of Regents, was charged with developing a long range plan for the university system of 15 campuses and 200,000 students. From that came a deep understanding of the demographic change the state faces — soon to become a minority/majority state, then a state where Latinos are the largest ethnic group by 2025, and finally a state with a Hispanic majority in 2035. Next, was a study of historical income and educational attainment levels in my hometown of El Paso, Texas. In the 1950 census El Paso had an educational level 20% above and an income level 14% above the rest of the state. This was higher than Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix, or Tucson. However, by the 2000 census our educational attainment level had fallen to 70% as compared to the rest of the state and, not surprisingly, our income was also at 70% of the state average. We were far behind our fellow Southwestern cities.”

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