Delving Deeper Into Poverty Among Nebraska Latinos

Claudia Felix and her family have gone in and out of poverty over the years.

Claudia Felix and her family have gone in and out of poverty over the years. (Photo by Bobby Caina Calvan | The Heartland Project)

By Bobby Caina Calvan | The Heartland Project

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Heartland Project last month reported on Claudia Felix and other Nebraskans who would be affected by the rise in the Cornhusker State’s minimum wage.

Social justice advocates argued that the rise in the minimum wage — from the federal hourly minimum of $7.25  to $8 this year then $9 in 2016 — would help give some economic relief to the state’s working poor.

The story, which ran in the Lincoln Journal Star on New Year’s Eve, noted U.S. Census Bureau statistics showing that 239,433 Nebraskans, or 13.2 percent of the state’s population, lived in poverty in 2013.

The story also noted that many of the state’s low-wage workers are from communities of color.

What last month’s story didn’t tell you is how bad things have gotten for some Latinos.

As Latinos nationwide rise out of poverty, those in Nebraska fall deeper into it.

Read story at Fox News Latino.

In fact, more of Nebraska’s Latinos are sinking below the poverty line — even as national poverty rates among Latinos and Americans in general begin to fall as the economy improves.

As I wrote in a story for Fox News Latino this week, some Latino families in the country’s heartland are being left behind as the economy begins improving.

The story for Fox News Latino, prompted by a report in the Omaha World-Herald,  was an opportunity to take the plight of the working poor in a slightly different direction — this time to the broader issue of poverty and how the nation’s nascent economic recovery isn’t being felt across the board.

The story shared by Felix and her family for the minimum wage article was just as applicable to a story about poverty among Latinos. I had called Felix to seek her permission to use our earlier interview for the Fox News Latino report. That’s when she told me about going to a Lincoln food bank when her family’s cupboards become bare.

The poverty story is the first collaboration with Fox News Latino. Another partnership is already in the works.


Incidentally, some readers of the Journal Star package were so moved by Felix’s economic plight that they reached out to the newspaper and The Heartland Project to offer jobs to Felix and her husband. Sometimes it’s nice to make a difference in the lives of the people who so graciously share their stories.