Statistics are powerful, but so are our stories. If we looked at numbers only – and society’s expectations of ethnicity, sex and economic status – I’m an exception. In fact, many of us are.
But in order to be that exception and rise above the expectations, we have to understand the statistics. We have to know what’s “supposed” to happen so that we can work against it. And we have to share our stories.
I’m a college-educated Latina, born from a teen mom and raised with divorced parents. Some statistics that (could) affect me, include:
- Children of teen moms are less likely to finish high school, have lower performance on standardized tests and are more likely to have behavioral problems.
- Daughters of teen moms are three times more likely to become teen moms themselves. (Stay Teen)
Latinos and College
- Hispanic college students are less likely than white students to enroll in a four-year college or to attend full-time. (Think finances.)
- Hispanic college students are less likely than white students to complete a bachelor’s degree.
- On the plus side, 69 percent of Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall, a 20 percent increase from 2000. (Pew Hispanic Research, 2013)
- When children witness parents’ marriage falling apart, they are more likely to adapt a pessimistic view of relationships, especially if the divorce has a high level of conflict.
- Daughters of divorced parents have a 60 percent higher divorce rate in marriages than children of non-divorced parents. (Christina Steinorth)
See, I’m not a teen mom. I’ve also graduated from a four-year college, have a full-time job and hope to have a healthy marriage one day. But we need to know the stats. Just because we’re exceptions – and may be privileged – doesn’t mean we should be oblivious.
We also need to take a moment to reflect on the positive. We need to know those numbers that will inspire us – the ones that tell us, “Sí se puede.”
- On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least in terms of return on sales by 42 percent. (Catalyst, 2007)
- Women are graduating with higher education degrees at higher rates than men.
- Women’s earned income is rising at a faster rate than men’s (even though we’re still earning less, dollar per dollar).
- Globally, women control $20 trillion in yearly consumer spending. (Forbes, 2013)
And there are many more. There are companies, like GoldieBlox, that are encouraging young girls to be engineers. There are sites, like New Latina, that are empowering us every day.
We’ve come a long way, but there’s still plenty more to go.
Let’s learn the stats, because knowledge is power. And let’s share our stories, because that how we’ll inspire each other. And with them, we can run the world — together.
For more statistics on Latinos in the U.S., check out the following sites