NationalStacy M. Brown

Study Gives Nuanced Look at Black, Latino Economic Experiences

The Groundwork Collaborative, UnidosUS Action Fund and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies have released Project Mosaic, a new, groundbreaking study examining the personal economic experiences of Black and Latino adults in the United States, the organizations said in a news release.

Trumpeted as a comprehensive analysis revealing new insight into the perspectives of Black and Latino adults, the study dives into the economic challenges they face and examines their opinions on the role government plays in the economy and the role racism plays in their economic successes or setbacks, according to the release issued Friday, Aug. 2.

“Not understanding the Black and Latino economic experience prevents policymakers and advocates from crafting policy and communicating an economic narrative that is credible and resonant, and that addresses the real challenges each community faces,” said Angela Hanks, deputy executive director of the Groundwork Collaborative.

“Project Mosaic provides crucial insight into the lived experiences of groups whose economic needs are too often overlooked,” Hanks said in the release.

While Black adults say individual drive is important for economic success, they also see an economy that’s rigged in favor of the wealthy and privileged, the study found.

Black adults strongly believe that racism plays a role in the economy and that the government should do more to address it, yet are less likely to cite racism in their own lives as their most significant economic concern.

Most believe there has been little improvement in the overall U.S. economy over the past two years, though they are slightly more optimistic about their own personal situations.

Black adults want the federal government to take a more active role in improving the economy, though there remains a great deal of skepticism that politicians will actually change things for the greater good, according to the study.

Latino adults were found to have mixed views on the roles race and racism play in the economy and in their own lives.

Most Latino adults say they have not felt much benefit from the economy in the past two years.

Women are much less likely than men to have positive things to say about the national economy or their own financial situation.

Latino adults face serious “kitchen table” economic challenges.

Younger Latino adults are most likely to want the federal government to take a more active role in improving the economy and are more likely to see the system as rigged, the study found.

Despite finding variances in how Black and Latino adults experience and perceive the economy across gender, age, education, income, and political affiliation, the study also points to some unifying themes and ideas shared by both groups, namely:

• Majorities of Black and Latino respondents agreed that the economy is at its strongest when take-home pay outpaces the cost of living.
• Black and Latino adults agree that everyday people, and not wealthy elites, drive the economy.
• Both communities are deeply skeptical that the government will act to improve their economic conditions.

“The findings from Project Mosaic are loud and clear: policymakers need to address the unique economic concerns of African American communities,” said Jessica Fulton, economic policy director at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

“We can no longer go by the assumption that a lowered unemployment rate for Black Americans equates to the community doing well, especially given that African American respondents report that they are struggling to find jobs that keep up with the cost of living, ” Fulton said. “We live in a shared economy, and it is time for policymakers to energize African Americans around the issues that matter most to them and their families.”

To view the complete study, go to groundworkcollaborative.org.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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