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Understanding Hispanic Diversity: A “One Size Approach” to Service Delivery May Not Fit All

Families, Marriage

Photo of Latino faces with the words Diversity within the Hispanic Population underneathThe ACF Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation recently released a brief, "Understanding Hispanic Diversity: A 'One Size Approach' to Service Delivery May Not Fit All," that describes the country’s Hispanic population and presents data collected during the Hispanic Healthy Marriage Initiative Evaluation.

The brief notes that there is remarkable diversity within the Hispanic community both nationally and locally.  Service providers working with Hispanic communities need to recognize that “one size fits all” program development and delivery strategies may not work and adjust their programming accordingly. An approach that works for one community of Hispanics may not work with another.

  • As of the 2010 Census, the nation’s Hispanic population numbers over 50 million, comprising more than 16 percent of the total U.S. population. The growth of the Hispanic population is expected to continue, and Hispanics are estimated to comprise between a quarter and a third of the U.S. population in the next two to three decades.
  • As a group, Hispanics are young, with a median age of 27 years. In contrast, the median age of the overall population in the United States is 37. Approximately one quarter of all children under age five in the United States are Hispanics.
  • The nine sites of the Hispanic Healthy Marriage Initiative served different populations. The percent of participants born in the U.S. varied widely from 6 percent at one site to 48 percent in another.  Participants born outside of the United States represented numerous locations (Puerto Rico, Mexico, and countries in South America and the Caribbean.)
  • Half of participants in four sites had less than a high school degree. Other sites had significant segments of their population with post high school education experience.

Naomi Goldstein is Director of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services. She is responsible for advising the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families on increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of ACF programs.

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