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Issues Within the Latino Community

By Tania Ramirez

Issues within the Latino community have continued to change as the number of registered voters increases drastically. Georgia is home to over 1 million Latinos, accounting for 9% of the population in Georgia. Due to the growing population, Georgia has become one of the top 10 states with the largest Latino/Hispanic population. GALEO has analyzed statewide voter data and created a report which indicates that in 2020, there were 140,995 new registered voters, showing a growth rate of 57.7%. Although many Latinos became more politically engaged in the 2020 election, they believe many issues are yet to be addressed. Immigration used to be a primary concern for Latinos; however, studies have shown that Latinos are more focused on issues regarding the economy, healthcare, and discrimination (Gonzalez and Medina).

 

Currently, the majority of Latino workers make under $15 per hour, which is less than a living wage. For one adult, the living wage is 15.99 per hour, whereas for two, the living wage is 20.46. In a report conducted by The University of Massachusetts, race and ethnicity were compared regarding the proportion of workers that earn less than $15 an hour. In the report, Latinos are shown to have the largest share of workers earning less than $15 an hour. Using the comparison in the report, Latinos make lower hourly wages than white workers. A gap is also shown between Latinos and other race or ethnicity groups with similar work or education experience. The Latino community believes there should be an increase in the minimum wage in an effort to support their family and maintain a sustainable living wage. 

 

Among economic issues, health care has recently become one of the major concerns for Latinos. In Georgia, 15.9% of Latino are uninsured, almost two times higher than the national rate of uninsured Latinos, which is 9.2%. Due to the inability to access health care, most Latinos choose not to seek treatment for their injuries or diseases. Latinos believe that “extending the Affordable Care Act to the entire population, with an extension of Medicaid coverage and lower reliance on low wage employers to provide health care insurance, is a key issue for [their] community” (Dominguez-Villegas and Tomaskovic-Devey).

 

Latinos are conscious of the racism and discrimination they face in this country. In fact, it has become the most critical concern for young Latino voters. 62% of Latino voters stated that discrimination towards their community has gotten worse since 2016. With the increase in discrimination, many Latino-led organizations have emphasized the importance of increasing voter registration and voter turnout. Now, more than ever, the Latino community is determined to improve the civic engagement of Latinos across Georgia. In doing so, it is essential for Latinos to be registered to vote in the upcoming primary and general elections to showcase our existence and our power in the electorate (Sanchez).

 

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Works Cited

Gonzalez, Jerry, and Erik Francisco Medina. “2020: THE GEORGIA LATINO ELECTORATE GROWS IN POWER.” GALEO, 10 June 2021, https://galeo.org/wp-content/uploads/GLV-2020-Report-1.pdf. 

Dominguez-Villegas, Rodrigo, and Donald Tomaskovic-Devey. “Top Issues for Latino Voters in Swing States for the 2020 Election.” UMass Amherst, https://www.umass.edu/employmentequity/top-issues-latino-voters-swing-states-2020-election. 

Sanchez, Gabriel R. “Yes, Social Justice and Discrimination Were Driving Issues for Latino Voters in 2020.” Brookings, Brookings, 9 Mar. 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/how-we-rise/2020/11/06/yes-social-justice-and-discrimination-were-driving-issues-for-latino-voters-in-2020/.

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