With Donald Trump harping on Hispanic immigration and Jeb Bush talking up how society should not be multicultural, it's time to look at the numbers and see exactly where Florida — the state where the two candidates hail from — ranks when it comes to Hispanic assimilation.
A recent study from personal finance website WalletHub says that the Sunshine State ranks sixth in the United States for Hispanic assimilation, ranking just below states like West Virginia, Alaska, Louisiana, and Kentucky.
Basically, the study looks into how well Hispanics have adapted into what is considered mainstream American society relative to where they live, which might explain Florida's relatively low ranking, given the large population of Hispanics here — particularly in South Florida.
WalletHub looked at all 50 states and D.C. and split their metrics across three categories — cultural and civic assimilation, educational assimilation, and economic assimilation — and then compiled the findings together to make up the rankings.
"The data set ranges from Hispanics’ English proficiency to educational attainment to homeownership rates," the study reads.
According to the study's findings, Florida ranks highest in the percentage of population 18 years and over that are naturalized as U.S. citizens. The state came in sixth in test scores in math and reading for Hispanic students, as well as in percentage of Hispanics with a least a Bachelor's Degree. Florida ranks seventh in public high-school graduation for Hispanics and eighth in poverty rates among Hispanics.
Once tallied, the numbers gave Florida an overall ranking of sixth among the 50 states and D.C.
According to the U.S. Census, Hispanics make up 17.4 percent of the total population in the U.S., making it the second fastest-growing ethnic minority group behind Asians. A lot of this has to do with natural U.S. births — as is the case in Florida.
"Undocumented immigrants, as well as U.S. citizens with undocumented family members, live in a state of uncertainty that makes assimilation very difficult or impossible," says Melissa Gonzalez, an assistant professor of Hispanics at Davidson College, who helped in the study. "In contrast, the success of Cuban Americans demonstrates how a pathway to citizenship has an enormous positive impact on immigrants' ability to assimilate into the new culture and attain success in terms of home ownership, education level, and wealth building."
The study ranks Vermont number one, while Massachusetts came in dead last at 51.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.