OMAHA - Researchers from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) have released a new report detailing the demographic makeup of Latinos throughout the City of Omaha and what trends have been evident within the population in recent years.
This is the first time a detailed analysis of the trends of Latinos living in various parts of the entire city has been produced, and it confirms as well as challenges some of the generalizations that are frequently made about this population in Omaha.
The study, titled “Latinos throughout the City: A Snapshot of Socio-demographic Differences in Omaha, Nebraska,” was produced by members of the UNO Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) and Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
The report chronicles the dispersion of Latinos throughout the city and their increasing diversity, not only differences in origin but more importantly in socio-demographic and economic trends such as income, poverty, citizenship status and occupation.
This publication highlights that geographic location is predictably tied to socioeconomic conditions. The farther west in the city Latinos live, the more advantaged they are. This pattern also holds true for indicators such as educational attainment, income and occupation. That said, the researchers argue other factors also contribute to the socio-economic status of these Latinos in different parts of the city.
To highlight differences across residential areas in Omaha, the authors divided the city into five different sectors based on zip codes: South East, North East, South Center, Northwest and Southwest.
We should look more closely at the effects of the residential context not only in terms of social [and economic] mobility, but also in how it shapes the Latino identity and their sense of community across the city.
Some of the key findings in the report include:
- Although the majority of Omaha’s Latinos still live in the South East (also known as “South Omaha”), 44 percent have dispersed throughout the city’s other sectors.
- The vast majority of Latinos in Omaha are of Mexican descent, and they can be found all over the city. The next largest group is Latinos of Central American origin, but they only comprise 10 percent of the total Latino population. Although Latinos of South American origin constitutes only 2 percent of the total Latino population in Omaha, they are highly concentrated in the western part of the city.
- Nearly half of all Latinos in Omaha have a high school degree or higher level of education. Latinos in the South East section are highly diverse in terms of levels of education; however, the majority of highly educated Latinos are concentrated in the South Center and western sectors of the city.
- Latinos in the South East sector are more likely to be bilingual, while Latinos living in the West tend to adopt English as their only language.
- Across Omaha, the median income for Latino families is about 60 percent of the median income for non-Latino families. Latino families in western Omaha, typically employed in management, sales and office occupations, have a median income that is nearly double the median family income of Latinos in the East, where the majority work in production, transportation and construction occupations.
- The proportion of poor Latino households in the East side of town is two to three and a half times higher than the proportion found in other sections of the city.
Lissette Aliaga Linares, a co-author, believes the report “provides a glimpse of the diverse experiences of Latinos in the city of Omaha.” She adds that although the report does not contain a direct measure of residential movement, “it is evident that the population has dispersed throughout the city.”
The report serves as a baseline from which to build and keep track of Latino population dispersion in the future.
“We should look more closely at the effects of the residential context not only in terms of social [and economic] mobility, but also in how it shapes the Latino identity and their sense of community across the city,” the authors state.
The report uses data from the US Census Bureau 2009-2013 5-year American Community Survey estimates at the five-digit zip code level and it is published in both English and Spanish. Download a PDF copy of the report directly from the OLLAS webpage: http://www.unomaha.edu/ollas.
For media requests, please contact:
Sam Petto, UNO Media Relations Coordinator
Charley Reed, UNO Associate Director of Media Relations
About the Authors
Dr. Jasney Cogua-Lopez is Research Associate at the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS). She holds a Ph.D. from Florida International University. Dr. Lissette Aliaga Linares is an OLLAS faculty member, assistant professor of Sociology and a Senior Research Associate with the Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR). She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Lourdes Gouveia is Faculty, Director and Professor Emerita at OLLAS and Professor Emerita of Sociology.
The Office of Latino/Latin American Studies of the Great Plains (OLLAS—pronounced "oy-yas") at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) was established in 2003 with the support of UNO faculty, staff and students as well as the metropolitan community. OLLAS has helped fill a void in the Nebraska and Great Plains region's infrastructure dedicated to the productive incorporation of the new and growing Latino population into the political, economic and social life of the region. The office is dedicated to developing our institutional capacities and academic initiatives aimed at improving our understanding of Latino/Latin American issues and populations within and across borders. OLLAS offers a major in Latino/Latin American Studies and a minor in Chicano/Latino Studies. http://www.unomaha.edu/ollas/
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.