By Rachel Thelin and Dona Sapp, senior policy analysts
September marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, and as community leaders around the state come together to recognize and celebrate the many economic, social, and cultural contributions of Indiana’s growing Latino population, they must also recognize challenges facing Indiana Latinos in a number of areas, including income, education, and health.
The Institute recently partnered with the Indiana Latino Institute (ILI) to conduct a study consisting of a range of research activities to help ILI enhance programming and services throughout the state.
As part of this project, we produced a report compiling 1) an in-depth profile of the Indiana Latino population covering general population trends, education, economic, and health indicators based on a comprehensive and detailed examination of publicly available data; and 2) results of the Survey of Organizations Serving the Indiana Latino Community aimed at gathering perspectives from organizations throughout the state involved in providing services to members of the Latino community.
Since 1990, the Latino portion of the Indiana population more than tripled, rising from 1.8 percent of the total population to 6.4 percent in 2014. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Community Survey (ACS), in 2014 there were 425,465 Latinos in Indiana, representing a 98 percent increase since 2000 when Latinos represented 3.5 percent (214, 536) of the state’s total population.
Number of Latino residents and Latinos as a percentage of the Indiana population, 1980 – 2014
In 1990, the Indiana Latino population was concentrated in the northern region of the state, in particular the northwest. According to the ACS, during the 2010-14 period (5-year estimates), most of the counties with the greatest concentration of Latino residents continue to be found in northern Indiana. However, areas with greater change and increase in Latino population tend to be in the central and southern regions of the state.
Indiana Latino population by county, (as a percentage of total county population)
In terms of educational attainment, 37 percent of Latinos in Indiana 25 years and older have not completed high school or an equivalent level of education, a rate three times higher than non-Hispanic whites (11 percent). Fewer than 15 percent of Latino adults in Indiana have a college or professional degree.
Educational attainment among Indiana adults (age 25 years and older), by race and ethnicity, 2010-14
Based on ACS estimates, 15 percent of all Indiana residents were living below the poverty level during 2010-14. Nearly 30 percent of Hispanic or Latino residents (of any race) were living below the poverty level, while less than 13 percent of white residents lived in poverty.
Indiana poverty rates, by race and ethnicity, 2010-2014
With regard to health-related indicators, 40 percent of 18- to-64-year-old Latinos in Indiana were insured in 2010-14. Latinos under 18 and those between 18 and 64 years of age experienced higher rates of being uninsured than any other race or ethnic group in these age categories. Five percent of Latinos 65 years of age and older were uninsured compared to less than 1 percent of African Americans or whites in this age group.
Proportion of Indiana population uninsured (health insurance), by age group and race and ethnicity, 2010-14
The results of the breadth of research conducted by the Institute as part of our partnership with ILI will help to deepen understanding of the Latino community in Indiana and will help organizations currently serving Latinos to improve programming throughout the state.