Study details Latino impact on Metro Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Independant

The population of Milwaukee would be shrinking if not for the growth of the Latino population, while Latino workers have accounted for all net growth in employment in the four-county area during the last 25 years. A new study commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation offers an unprecedented look at conditions in the Latino community and the trends that continue to shape the region.

Among the many insights found in Latino Milwaukee: A Statistical Portrait:

  • Metro Milwaukee’s Latino population increased by more than 213 percent between 1990 and 2014.
  • Nearly 73 percent of Latinos in the Milwaukee region are U.S.-born citizens, a higher proportion than in most other large metropolitan areas.
  • The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the region grew by more than 82 percent to nearly 4,200 in a five-year span from 2007-2012. The rate of ownership in metro Milwaukee, however, remained the lowest of the 50 largest U.S. metro areas throughout that period.
  • Metro Milwaukee is experiencing one of the widest “cultural generation gaps” in the country. -Latinos constitute 15.4 percent of the under-18 population but only 2.7 percent of the over-65 demographic. By contrast, white non-Hispanic residents make up 86.7 percent of the over-65 population but only 54.1 percent of the under 18 population.
  • More than 27 percent of all Latinos in the region live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty (where 40 percent or more of the population is poor). This measure is highly correlated with residential segregation, which is illustrated by data showing that an affluent Latino household making more than $100,000 a year is more likely to live in a concentrated poverty neighborhood than a poor, white non-Hispanic household earning less than $10,000 annually.
  • Growth in the number of Latino schoolchildren in the metro area accounts for all of the net growth in K-12 enrollment in the region. At the same time, metro Milwaukee Latino students, to a greater extent than Latino students in any of the 50 largest metro areas, attend private schools.