The demographics of our nation are changing, and Latinos are paving the way. In 2015, for the first time in history, our nation’s public schools are what is commonly referred to as majority-minority: more than 50% of students are Latino, African American, Asian American, Native American, or of two or more races. This revelation is still so new that the terminology has not yet caught up with the demographic reality. Children of color are no longer the minority, but the new majority of students in our public schools, and this is due to the growth of the Latino community; while Latinos have grown to 17% of the total population, we represent more than 25% of the students in our nation’s public schools.
The future economic competitiveness of the United States will depend in great part on the educational attainment of the nation’s growing Hispanic community. Increasing the high school graduation and college completion rates among all Latino student groups will translate into higher lifetime salaries, raise the standard of living for millions of Latino families, and strengthen the economic base of the United States. Much work remains to be done. Hispanics have lacked many of the opportunities and access to a quality and comprehensive education that others have enjoyed. According to 2015 Census Bureau data, 75% of 25 to 29-year-old Hispanics have at least a high school diploma, compared to 96% of non-Hispanic Whites in the same age range. Similarly, only 15% of Hispanics between the ages of 25 and 29 have bachelor’s degrees compared to 41% of non-Hispanic Whites in the same age range.