Latino Youth Find Hope and Danger

A major study of the values, circumstances and aspirations of Latino youth paints a portrait of optimism and enthusiasm in the face of significant struggles, including inadequate education, problems with their immigration status and high rates of poverty. The study by the Pew Hispanic Center released on Dec. 11 highlights many similarities between the way previous generations of immigrants and recent Latino immigrants and their children become a part of American society. And it notes that Hispanic cultural traditions of close family ties, religious faith and hard work remain strong even several generations after a family resettles in the United States. In the report, “Between Two Worlds: How Young Latinos Come of Age in America,” ties to church were singled out as a particularly strong influence in helping young Latinos avoid getting involved with gangs. The report notes one pervasive problem faced by Latino youths: a greater likelihood than other teen demographic groups of becoming involved with weapons, fights and gangs, leading to jail or prison time.

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