UEP Colloquium: UEP Professor James Jennings

Exploring the Status of Black and Latino Young Males in Boston

Longtime UEP professor James Jennings presented his research at this week’s colloquium. Jennings has published extensively on urban and neighborhood politics, social welfare, race relations, and community development. His most recent research report, from April 2014, is on the Social, Demographic, and Economic Profile of Young Black and Latino Males in Boston, Massachusetts. Jennings uses data from the 2010 Decennial Census and the American Community Survey to come to a number of findings on poverty, education, household characteristics and other demographic factors. Some themes from the Jennings’ findings:

1. Black and Latino youth of Boston reflect a demographic bubble. They represent a dominant group, demographically speaking, that is an important part of Boston’s future

  • Blacks and Latinos comprise 61% of all males 19 and under in Boston

2. These two groups have vastly different household experiences than their fellow Whites, and to a certain extent, Asian persons.

  • Almost half of Black and Latino grandparents (45.4% and 42.9% respectively) are responsible for their own grandchildren, compared with 31.4% of White grandparents and 14.6% of Asian grandparents.
  • 10.1% of Black households and 12.3% of Latino households report having young non-relatives living with them. Corresponding numbers for Whites and Asians are 8.9% and 9.4% respectively.

3. School and educational experiences are very different from that of Whites, and in some cases Asians.

  • 31.8% of all Black students and 36% of Latinos in grade 11 and 12 work at a job, while the citywide figure is 19.5%.

4. Continuing economic vulnerability for young Black and Latino persons in the city of Boston.

  • The Black male unemployment rate is at 21.1% and the Latino male unemployment rate is 13.7%. White males who are not Latino have an unemployment rate of 6.1%.
  • 85.3% of all impoverished people in Boston who are 17 years and under are Blacks and Latinos.
  • 49.8% of Latino children and 44.6% of Black children age 1-15 receive public assistance. For Whites and Asians, the numbers are 22.4% and 24.2% respectively.

Jennings also emphasized the importance of addressing ethnic and language diversity within different Black and Latino communities, and addressing similarities and differences between Black and Latino communities. Additionally, Jennings sees this work as complimentary to other efforts aimed at responding to the needs facing young girls of color in Boston.

The complete report can be found here on Jennings’ web site. Be sure to attend next week, when Darcy Saas (UEP ’05) will be discussing her work as Deputy Director of the New England Public Policy Center (NEPPC). Come to the Sophia Gordon Hall at 12pm on Wednesday, 11/5, to find out more! Lunch will be provided!