Example Of Research Paper On Challenges And Poverty-Related Issues Facing Aging Hispanic Population, Their Children And Families In The United States Of America
I. Executive Summary
The main purpose and aim of this policy proposal is to provide a detailed analysis of a policy designed to redress poverty-causing issues confronting Hispanic children and aging families in the United States. Hispanics are generally a group of Spanish-speaking people with origins from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean who immigrated and settled in the United States of America. As such, they are not pure American Whites, and some of them resemble Black Americans. The number of aging Hispanic population in the US has been increasing steadily over the years, amid fears that this trend may pose challenges to the Native Americans. Among them, the number of aging Hispanics is also exceedingly at its highest in history. As a matter of fact, the elderly represent the fastest growing section of the Hispanic-American population, and the current number is projected to more than double by the year 2050 (Angel & Whitefield, 2007). However, despite these demographic concerns, the old Hispanics and their families in the US are facing a litany of challenges, ranging from poverty to health and education related issues.
The procedure and methodology used to gather information about the aging Hispanic population in the US were mainly secondary sources of literature information from books, government reports and journal articles on the issue. A thorough analysis of the information from the variant research on Hispanic demographics in the US is important in unearthing the root causes of some of these problems confronting Hispanics and coming up with strategic and sound policy recommendations and proposals.
The major findings and results of the current research are that the Hispanics, particularly the aging, in the US are confronted and faced with a plethora of challenges that need policy intervention and redress. The literature material and statistics reveal that the challenges facing aging Hispanic population in US are more acute than is generally thought or depicted by government and media. For instance, a report by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA, 2012) shows that most older Hispanic adults can barely afford basic necessities, economic security and healthy living standards due to low family disposable incomes. The report further reveals that the poverty rate among the aging Hispanic community stood at 27% as at 2012. Accessing health and education facilities for them, and their children has always proved to be a hard nut to crack for most of these people.
The main conclusion that can be drawn from this snapshot of the life experiences for the aging Hispanic population in the US is that the issues facing aging Hispanics, their families and children are more pronounced than is normally portrayed in national statistics and reports. It is therefore recommended, among other measures, that the US government come up with funding policies for older Americans including Hispanics and strategically plan ahead for country’s demographics in terms of aging population. Moreover, the state should also come up with health and education policy schemes aimed at alleviating the status of aging Hispanics and their children.
II. Problem History
The genesis of some of the challenges facing older Hispanics in the US may be attributed to their perceived isolation by the state and social disconnectedness among them in their relations with other Americans (Cornwell & Waite, 2009). This is mainly with reference to their access to health facilities and lack of enough family income, hence poverty. According to these authors, the problems facing most Hispanic Americans draw mainly from their immigrant antecedence, as most of them came to the US using illegal immigration routes. As a result, they have been labeled as minority groups with limited rights of access to most facilities such as health, job employment and education for their children like other Americans. Other authors like Parrado and Kandel (2010) believe that the challenges facing aging population in the US are partly due to cultural barriers, economic disparities, and income inequalities that exist between Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. This trend has generally contributed to the marginalization of older members of the community in many spheres.
Currently, American Hispanics form the fastest growing ethnic population minority in the United States with the aging population growing at a faster rate than any other group in the Americas. Studies show that the Hispanic population tends to be confronted with more socio-economic concerns and challenges as it grows older. The older population becomes susceptible to poor health and poverty due to low income (Gentry, 2010). Moreover, due to the inability to accumulate or amass wealth for themselves while young, most aging Hispanics find themselves in poverty. The rate of poverty among the older members of the population is also exacerbated by the fact that more Hispanic Americans are unemployed and without social security benefits from the state, their conditions in life become even worse. Studies on the current aging patterns among Hispanics and the issues confronting them reveal that their problems have become more acute and serious than they used to be some decades ago. According to a report by Ortman, Velkoff and Hogan (2014), the number of older people in the US population is expected to continue growing. These authors argue that the elderly minority Hispanic Americans are currently experiencing more challenges than they used to some years ago due to growing strain on limited state facilities and harsh economic downturns in the US. They point out further that currently, the elderly among Hispanic Americans continue to experience challenges in terms of access to health, education, income and housing facilities. Further, according to by Cornell and Waite (2009) on poverty and education levels among Hispanic children, the rate of poverty among Hispanics in the country is higher than the Native Americans.
Moreover, the report indicates that more than 20% of the Hispanic families are living, and children are living in abject poverty and destitution, unable to afford basic necessities and education costs. With regards to health concerns, most Hispanic elderly people aged 65 years or over are more often than not prone to health complications such as diabetes, cancer, stroke, hypertension, and arthritis. Apart from this disposition and exposure to the risks of age-related diseases, aging population among Hispanic Americans lack life insurance covers, hence inability to get medical treatment in sophisticated government and private health institutions. This has led to high mortality rates and reduced life expectancies among them as a study by Elo, Turra, Kestenbaum and Ferguson (2006) shows.
Importance of the Problem
As Angel and Whitefield (2007) observes, the rapid aging population of the Hispanics will necessitate social and economic adjustments and redesign of the US government’s social policies in future. Furthermore, the writer argues that the rate at which the Hispanic population ages brings with it a myriad of health and other social issues such as poverty, unemployment and illiteracy that tend to impact on the Hispanics, their children, and families. The problem of aging American Hispanic populations raises serious socio-economic and legal-political issues in the United States. According to Parrado and Kandel (2010), the ever increasing aging Hispanic population in the US poses significant challenges to the government in terms of allocation and management of state resources.
They argue that, despite their minority status, the growing aging Hispanics is likely to be a major future stakeholder in the sharing of national resources if appropriate policy measures are put in place by the state to address their plight. Further, other writers have argued that the issue of aging Hispanic population in USA may have future implications on the social stability of Americans and their families (Elo, Turra, Kestenbaum & Ferguson, 2006). It may also spur important changes in the national health, poverty, income and education policies if the state implements the various reports on these issues with emphasis on Hispanic minorities. The Ageing processes in the United States also tend to influence or shape social and economic policies as is the case in other countries with a similar challenge such as Chile (Settersten and Angel 2011).
III. Theoretical Perspective
Theoretically, the current socioeconomic situation and context among the Hispanic minorities in US may be explained using a number of philosophical theories and perspectives. These include the feminist, critical and critical race theories. For the purposes of the present study, the critical race theory will be used to succinctly expound on the theoretical perspectives of aging Hispanic population in the United States. According to McDonald (2011), theorizing about aging helps to “provide conceptual tools that make the interpretation of complex events and critically analyze the present state of aging" (p.1181).
The Critical Race Theory
This is a philosophical and social theory that posts that race and racism are part and parcel of a society, laws, and culture; thus, critical race theorist in the United States believe that race is central to the policies, politics and laws. They study the relationship between racism, law and power and argue that there is no neutrality or liberalism in social norms that define a community as racism and ethnicity are deeply engrained in the American societal fabrics, systems and culture (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012). Critical race theory, in other words, therefore, involves the construction and analysis of race or racism in a legal context and from a legal stand point.
Furthermore, according to this theory, people are not necessarily racists but the existing culture inculcated in them by the society makes them develop racist ideas and feelings towards people not of their color and language. Some scholar, adherents and supporters of the critical race theory believe that racism and ethnic feelings are responsible for some of the issues and challenges facing the aging Hispanic population or “minorities” in the United States; being immigrants, they are discriminated upon when it comes to equal distribution of state resources such as health and education schemes for the elderly among them and their children (Hylton, 2012). According to this author, the social construction aspect of the critical race theory may be used to explain disparities that exist between populations in terms of access to basic necessities from the state.
Thus, race and racism being products of social through or relations in society, there are incidences of social injustice and subordination of people of color as most Hispanics are. It is the ingrained notion of American Whites supremacy and dominancy that perpetuates marginalization of the Hispanic community as the laws that are supposed to provide equal treatment are used for self-political interests. Furthermore, according to the critical race theory, class, race and gender all intersect together to the disadvantage of Hispanics and their families owing to their culture that differs significantly from the white Americans.
According to Settersten and Angel (2011), the critical race theory may be helpful in explaining the current problems that aging Hispanic-American population faces. This is in terms of policy strategies by the US state and federal governments aimed at alleviating poverty and providing healthcare or education facilities to all Americans. In most cases, such policies are influenced by self-interests based on the race and the minority status of the Hispanics. They may not be able to receive these facilities and government support such as social security and health insurance policies in the same proportion as other Native Americans due to the influence of institutional racism.
Moreover, it is a matter of fact that racial and ethnic hegemony may all contribute towards inequality in access to most fundamental human needs such as food, education and healthcare. Hence, the critical race theory is significant in providing a theoretical basis of understanding and explaining some of the problems that confront the ageing Hispanic population in the US. This is because the theory seeks to explain ways in which the dominant ideology and racial dominancy contribute to social injustice among minorities or the underprivileged in the American society. As Delgado and Stefancic (2012) claim, through the principle of material determinism or interest convergence, the critical race theory can be applied to argue that covert racism serves to only advance the interests of the white elites materially while the disadvantaged groups like the elderly Hispanics wade in poverty. Achieving quality education for their children and grandchildren, accessing better healthcare and sustaining themselves and their families financially thus become difficult to realize in this state of racial and ethnic differential treatment of the aging Hispanic population in the United States.
Angel, J. L., & Whitefield, K. E. (2007). The health of ageing Hispanics the Mexican-origin population. Durham: Springer Science.
Cornwell, E. Y., & Waite, L. J. (2009). Social disconnectedness, perceived isolation, and health among older Hispanic adults. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 50(1), 31-48.
Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2012). Critical race theory: An introduction. New York & London: New York University Press.
Elo, I. T., Turra, C. M., Kestenbaum, B., & Ferguson, B. R. (2006, February). Mortality among elderly Hispanics in the United States: Past evidence and new results. Demography, 41(1), 109-128. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1515215
Gentry, M. (2010). Challenges of elderly immigrants. Human Services Today, 6(2), 2-10. Retrieved March 22, 2015, from http://hst.coehs.uwosh.edu
Hylton, K. (2012, January). Talk the talk, walk the walk: defining Critical Race Theory in research. Race Ethnicity and Education Journal, 15(1), 23-41.
McDonald, L. (2011, October). Theorising about ageing, family and immigration. Ageing and Society, 31(7), 1180-1201. Retrieved March 22, 2015, from http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0144686X11000511
National Hispanic Council on Aging. (2012). State of Hispanic Older Adults: An Analysis and Highlights from the field. London: NHCOA.
Ortman, J. M., Vellkoff, V. A., & Hogan, H. (2014). An aging Nation: The older population in the United States population estimates and projections. New York: United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 22, 2015, from http://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1140.pdf
Parrado, E. A., & Kandel, W. A. (2010). Hispanic population growth and rural income inequality. Social Forces, 88(3), 1421-1450. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40645897
Settersten, R. A., & Angel, J. (2011). Handbook of sociology of aging. Texas: Springer Science.
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