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Improving data infrastructure to recognize Hispanic diversity in the United States

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 begin to address this limitation, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services convened a Hispanic Research Work Group to help identify priorities for research concerning Hispanics. In 2014, this work group developed a research brief, "Survey Data Elements to Unpack Diversity of Hispanic Populations," that outlined 10 high priority data elements to be added to surveys for a "more adequate understanding of the diversity within low-income, Hispanic populations." These priority data elements are: 1) Hispanic ancestry/heritage subgroup; 2) Country of birth (adult or child who is the focus of the survey); 3) Parent country of birth (of focal person); 4) U.S. citizenship; 5) Time in U.S.; 6) Language(s) spoken at home; 7) English speaking proficiency; 8) Literacy in any language; 9) Highest educational level outside of the U.S.; 10) Legal residency. In this brief, we identify 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. We also suggest several steps national surveys can take to improve their description of the characteristics and experiences of Hispanics in the United States. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Fact Sheets & Briefs
United States

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