Following its rapid growth over the past twenty years, the Latino population of Massachusetts is now the largest racial and ethnic minority group in the state. It is also one of the poorest. During the "Massachusetts Miracle" of the 1980s, the Latino poverty rate in the commonwealth was twice that of blacks and six times that of whites. And with Latino children dropping out of school at a rate three times that of white children, the economic future of these young adults is bleak indeed.
Unlike blacks--who are concentrated in Boston--Latinos are dispersed geographically throughout the state. This distribution, combined with their limited economic and political power, has made Latinos victims of public indifference and neglect.
This volume and its companion, Latino Poverty and Economic Development in Massachusetts, edited by Edwin Melendez and Miren Uriarte, are designed to educate policymakers and other concerned individuals about the particular needs of Latinos in Massachusetts. They address issues of education and economic development and suggest strategies to facilitate Latino empowerment in ways that preserve ethnic identity, language, and cultural expression.