October 7, 2009

The Changing Pathways of Hispanic Youths Into Adulthood

VIII. The Pathways of Young Hispanic Females by Nativity

One-in-five young Latino females was neither in school or the labor force in 2007, a level of disengagement from school and work in excess of young black males. Some of the young Latino females who were not in school or the labor force were mothers. In 2007, about 9% of young Hispanic females were mothers who were in neither school nor the labor force (Figure 15). An additional 11% of young Hispanic females who were not in school or the labor force were not mothers.

Young motherhood among Hispanics has declined (Figure 9), and motherhood as an explanation for the lack of pursuit of school or work has declined as well. In 1970, 36% of young Hispanic females were not in school or working or looking for work, but two-thirds of them were mothers (Table 3). In 2007, less than half of young Hispanic females who were not in school or the labor force were mothers.

Though the fraction of female Latinos neither in school nor working has fallen markedly (from 36% in 1970 to 19% in 2007), the share of female Latinos who were not in school or working and not mothers has declined very little (Table 3). In 1970, 12% of young female Hispanics were not mothers and not in school or the labor force. In 2007, the comparable figure was 11%.

The size of the young out-of-school and out-of-work population is particularly large among young foreign-born female Latinos. Three-in-ten immigrant female Latinos were neither in school nor working in 2007 (Figure 15). About half of the foreign-born female Latinos neither enrolled in school nor in the work world were mothers, but that still leaves 15% of foreign-born female Latinos who are not in school or working and are not mothers. This is quite close to the size of the young black male population that is not in school or working (16%).