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Improving Data Infrastructure to Recognize Hispanic Diversity in the United States

Elizabeth Wildsmith, Arya Ansari, and Lina Guzman


June 19, 2015
Hispanics are currently the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the United States, and are also among the nation’s most diverse racial/ethnic groups across a wide range of characteristics.  One limitation to understanding the diversity of Hispanics is the lack of data that consistently measure critical dimensions of variability within the overall Hispanic population.  To address this limitation, a Hispanic Research Work Group convened by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlined 10 high priority data elements to be added to surveys for a “more adequate understanding of the diversity within low-income, Hispanic populations.”
This brief identifies which of these recommended data elements are included in currently available nationally representative and large-scale data sets commonly used to examine a range of topics critical to the well-being of children and their families, including self-sufficiency, poverty, economic mobility, early care and education, family formation, and health. It also suggests several steps national surveys can take to improve their description of the characteristics and experiences of Hispanics in the United States.
North America