Poll: Half of US Latinos Say Country Is Going Downhill

(CN) – Half of Latinos in a survey released by the Pew Research Center Thursday say that their life in the U.S. has worsened over the past year, and two-thirds blame the Trump administration for creating and enforcing policies harmful to Hispanics.

A nationally representative, bilingual telephone survey of 1,501 Hispanic adults conducted by the polling company between July and September of 2018 reveals a growing dissatisfaction and fear among the Latino population of the United States. Among those polled, 62 percent say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today.

Immigrants are more likely than U.S.-born Hispanics to say they have serious concerns about their place in U.S. society (57 percent vs. 42 percent), and 55 percent of Hispanics in the U.S., regardless of legal status, say they worry “a lot” or “some” that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported, up from 47 percent who said the same in 2017.

Hispanics who are immigrants themselves or have immigrant parents are more likely than U.S.-born Hispanics to say they worry about deportation. Fully two-thirds of immigrant Hispanics say they worry about deportation, compared with 43 percent of those who were born in the U.S. The share rises to 78 percent among those who are likely unauthorized immigrants – that is, they are not U.S. citizens and they do not have a green card.

Roughly one in four of those polled revealed that they had recently experienced being called offensive names, being told to go back to their home country, criticized for speaking Spanish in public or experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment because they are Hispanic. Yet about the same share say that during the past 12 months, someone has expressed support for them because they are Hispanic or Latino.

The poll also revealed a gloomy outlook on economic issues among Latinos, with only 62 percent saying that they expect their personal financial situation to improve in the coming year, down 19 percentage points from 2015 and at the lowest level recorded since Pew first asked this question in 2004. Further, only 54 percent of those polled said that they expect their children will be better off financially than themselves, a sharp reduction from 72 percent only three years ago.

But there may be positive side effects of the general dissatisfaction among the Latino population. Nearly 60 percent of polled registered voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting in the upcoming midterms than in the last congressional elections. This year, more than 29 million Latinos are eligible to vote, up from 25 million in 2014. A majority of Latino registered voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than in previous congressional elections.

Overall, Hispanics said they are overwhelmingly proud of their heritage and of being American. Asked if they could do it again today, 70 percent of Hispanics born in another country or in Puerto Rico said that they would migrate, or leave Puerto Rico, for the U.S. Eight-five percent said they see the U.S. as a better place to get ahead and 73 percent as a better place to raise children than their countries of origin or Puerto Rico.

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