Latino Michiganders: Key findings from U-M Poverty Solutions

October 15, 2021

ANN ARBOR—As National Hispanic Heritage Month, which celebrates the culture and contributions of Latinos in the U.S., comes to a close, Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan highlights key data from its research that relates to Latinos living in Michigan.

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The percentage of Latinos in Detroit who would feel more safe with an increased police presence in their neighborhood, according to a recent report by the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study on attitudes toward crime and policing. This is significantly lower than the percentage of Black (45%) and white (41%) Detroiters who would feel more safe with an increased police presence in the neighborhoods. Despite the report’s findings that Latinos report higher rates of criminal victimization and indirect exposure to criminal activity, Latinos in Detroit are much less likely to feel safe with police in their neighborhoods.

Latino Attitudes Toward Crime and Police in Detroit. 1) Police Performance. 38% of Latinos say they feel their local police do a good job of protecting their neighborhood. 46% of Blacks and 57% of whites agree. 2) Victim of a Crime. 40% of Latinos say they have been a victim of a crime. 26% of Blacks also said they were a victim of a crime, as well as 27% of whites. 3) Police Presence. 33% of Latinos say they would feel more safe with increased police presence in their neighborhood. 45% of Blacks and 41% of whites agree.

$3 Million

The estimated amount of money that undocumented workers in Michigan lose each year due to workplace injuries and a lack of access to workers’ compensation benefits. A majority of these workers immigrated from Latin America. According to an analysis prepared by Amanda Nothaft, senior data and evaluation manager for Poverty Solutions, about 1,400 undocumented workers are injured in Michigan each year at work. Yet despite their contributions to Michigan’s social and economic fabric and their concentration in relatively high-risk jobs (e.g., agriculture, construction, manufacturing), undocumented workers in Michigan do not have access to workers’ compensation available to other employees.

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The number of other states (including the District of Columbia) that Michigan would join if it passed the DRIVE Safe Bills (House Bill 4835 and House Bill 4836) to expand access to state-issued IDs. Poverty Solutions faculty experts Paul Fleming and William Lopez, along with the University of California-Irvine’s Alana Lebron, recently authored an op-ed on the significance of driver’s licenses to the public health of undocumented immigrants and others who cannot prove legal presence. They offer evidence that a lack of “access to a valid driver’s license was preventing patients from receiving needed preventative health services.” As a result, they argue that expanding access to driver’s licenses would have significant public health benefits for communities across the state.

States with Enhanced Access to Driver's Licenses. 17 states offer driving privileges to unauthorized immigrants. 28 states do not offer driving privileges to unauthorized immigrants. Michigan is currently one of those states

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The percentage of Latinos in Detroit who are in the labor force but unemployed, according to a recent report by the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study on unemployment dynamics. Similar to other Detroiters, this is largely attributed to the pandemic. Most Latinos who are in the labor force but unemployed indicate that either their place of employment was closed due to COVID-19 or they were laid off due to the pandemic. Among Latino Detroiters who are in the labor force and unemployed, more than 95% say they have actively been looking for work.

Unemployment Rates in Detroit. 27% of Latinos in the labor force are unemployed. In comparison, 26% of Blacks and 14% of whites in the labor force are unemployed.


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Contact:
Lauren Slagter, 734-929-8027, lslag@umich.edu
Nardy Baeza Bickel, 734-763-0368, nbb@umich.edu