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Hispanic kids biggest poor group in U.S.

Sept. 29, 2011 at 1:47 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Hispanics are the largest group of U.S. children living in poverty, the Pew Hispanic Center said in a report released Wednesday.

Blacks continue to have a higher rate of childhood poverty, The Washington Post reported. Almost four out of 10, 39 percent, live below the poverty line, compared to 35 percent of Hispanics, 12 percent of whites and 20 percent of all U.S. children.

But Pew said in the past poor white children have always outnumbered those of other groups. The most recent figures, however, show 6.1 million Hispanic children in poverty -- compared to 5 million non-Hispanic whites and 4 million blacks.

The shift is a result of economic circumstances and the growing number of Hispanic children. Mark Lopez, one of the authors of the report, said 25 percent of U.S. children are now Hispanic.

Patricia Foxen, associate director of research for the National Council of La Raza, said the housing bust hit Hispanics hard.

"A lot of Latinos invested most of their wealth in buying homes. It's the American dream," she said. "When people lost their homes, as lots of people in the Latino community did, they get wiped out. If both unemployment and foreclosure affect your family, clearly the chances you're going to live in poverty go way up."

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