Almost four out of every 10 Latinos in Connecticut have felt discriminated against in the workplace. One out of every three Latinos felt discriminated against when they were pulled over by law enforcement. One out of five feel they have been discriminated against when looking for a loan.
This is according to a survey commissioned by the state legislature’s Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission and conducted by the Vermont-based Center for Research and Public Policy.
The 40-question phone survey of 400 people has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.
It confirms what state Rep. Andres Ayala, D-Bridgeport, witnesses daily.
“If you are in the Latino community as I am, you see this every day,” Rep. Andres Ayala, D-Bridgeport, said.
The survey which was conducted this year is similar to surveys of the same population in 1997, 2000, 2002, and 2007. But unlike the previous surveys the latest report suggests declines in socio-economic conditions coinciding with the faltering economy at the end of 2007.
Unemployment in the Latino community has more than doubled since 2007, up to 12 percent from 4.8, according to the survey, while the percentage of respondents with training opportunities at work fell from 67 percent in 2007 to just under 53 percent.
Twelve percent fewer Latinos reported having health insurance in 2012 than five years ago, and nearly 1 in 5 respondents reported that there was a time in the last twelve months when they had wanted to see a doctor but could not because of cost.
“This is a community in crisis,” Ayala said.
Rep. Kevin Roldán, D-Hartford, called the results “startling,” and said that he hopes to use the data to pen legislation that would address the issues the Latino community faces, particularly concerning the issue of discrimination.
On the issue of discrimination, roughly 34 percent of respondents said they would prefer to live in a community with a strong Latino presence to avoid being discriminated against.
The revelation comes in the wake of a federal indictment of four East Haven police officers for systematic harassment of Latinos that made national headlines.
Only 40 percent said they were treated “with respect” by police.
The commission’s members have urged passage of a bill strengthening laws against racial profiling currently making its way through the legislature.
The survey also compared specific data from Latino respondents with the relevant Connecticut data from the larger Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. The comparison shows that Latinos in Connecticut suffer from greater levels of obesity, diabetes, smoke more, and have more heart attacks than the state population at large.
When asked if there was a time during the past year when they needed to see a doctor but could not because of cost, nearly one in four respondents said that situation occurred 23.8 percent of the time – an increase from 15.9 percent just four years ago.
Those reporting having health care insurance coverage dropped to 73.8 percent from 85.1 percent in 2007. The percentage of individuals that have a personal doctor or health care provider also slipped, from 89 percent four years ago to 81.5 percent this year.
“This is truly a triple threat to the health and well-being of our community,” Norma Rodriguez-Reyes, a commission member, said. “Fewer individuals in the Latino community have health insurance, fewer have a personal health care provider, and an increasing number can’t see a doctor when they are sick because they can’t afford to. As Connecticut’s economy begins to rebound, we must make certain that the Latino community sees results.”
Latinos do however get screened for mammograms, papsmear tests, and colorectal cancer at a higher rate than the state at large.
Jerry Lindsley, the statistician who presented the survey, said that in past years the CRPP has been able to analyze the data from the Latino quality of life survey geographically, because in the past they used a sample size of 800. This year’s smaller sample size of 400 wasn’t big enough to see if there were differences based on geography, Lindsley said, citing budget cuts.
Lindsley said the budget cuts also prevented his survey team from conducting Latino youth and leadership surveys, along with focus groups that would have shed more light on the results.
Rep. Juan Candelaria, D-New Haven, said in a statement that he “will continue to work with colleagues toward the day where we do not need socio-economic studies because the Latino community will be doing as well as mainstream society.”