WASHINGTON -- U.S. Hispanics are being hit hard by the current recession, with 30 percent of them saying that their economic situation is bad, 68 percent sending less money back to family members in their home countries and 3 percent facing mortgage foreclosure, the Pew Hispanic Center reported Thursday.
The non-partisan research outfit said that Latinos and the general population view the current U.S. economic situation similarly, but the Hispanic community paints a darker panorama regarding their personal financial situations.
Thirty percent of U.S. Hispanics feel that their finances are in bad shape, compared with 21 percent of the general population.
Just 19 percent of Hispanics say that their situation is good and only 4 percent call it excellent.
The evaluation of one's personal economic situation is different for immigrant Hispanics and those who were born in the United States.
In that regard, 34 percent of the immigrants say that their financial situations are bad compared with 25 percent of the U.S.-born Hispanics.
Among working people, 23 percent say that their financial situation is bad, while 39 percent of unemployed Latinos say the same.
The study reveals that 43 percent of Hispanics feel that their financial condition has worsened in the last year, almost the same percentage - 41 percent - who say they have detected no change. Only 15 percent say their financial situation has improved in the past 12 months.
The effect of the recession is being felt among Hispanics, above all, in the real estate market, the collapse of which sparked the U.S. crisis, and 62 percent of Latino homeowners say that there have been foreclosures in their community during the past year.
Nearly one in 10 Hispanic homeowners admitted missing a mortgage payment and 3 percent said they had received a foreclosure notice.
Thirty-six percent of Latinos who own their own homes said that they are somewhat or very worried about the possibility of losing their homes this year.
Among Hispanics who rented a residence last year, 5 percent said that the place where they lived was auctioned off after the owner defaulted on the mortgage.
The effects of the economic crisis are also being felt in the volume of remittances, with 68 percent of the Hispanics who sent remittances forwarding less money to their relatives abroad in 2008 than during the previous year.
Twenty-two percent of remittance senders said they had been able to send the same amount of money home and 10 percent said they sent more money last year than in 2007, according to the study.
Among the Hispanics who sent less money to their countries of origin, 73 percent cited their changed financial situation as the reason.
Regarding their expenditures, 47 percent of Hispanics said they had put off or shelved plans to buy a car or make another big purchase as a result of the economic crisis.
Despite the dark picture and negative view held by the Hispanic community on the current economic conditions, 67 percent said they believed that their situation would improve during 2009, while only 16 percent said they expected things to get worse for them personally.