By 2050, close to one in four US residents will be of Latino origin. Given this fact, the welfare of the nation as a whole will largely depend on the economic and social well-being of this population. This chapter presents the demographic and social trends that are driving this transformation. It first discusses the creation of pan-ethnic labels, which mask the diversity of the Latino population and provides brief overview of the historical origins of the major Latino groups in the United States. The chapter, then, examines the demographic and socioeconomic profiles of this heterogeneous population and shows that, despite the prominent role that Latinos play in the economy and demographics of the US economy, troubling socio-economic trends indicate an urgent need to reexamine current service infrastructures. For instance, the social and economic disparities Latinos experience are reflected in their limited access to health care, and overall physical and mental health status disadvantages. In the mental health service sector, access to quality care remains a persistent problem. The chapter concludes by discussing the implications of the major Latino demographic trends for building infrastructures capable of meeting their physical and mental health care needs. The heterogeneity and the growing geographic dispersion of the Latino population also call for the development of infrastructures attuned to the needs and characteristics of the specific Latino communities to be served. We suggest that the development of viable infrastructures and programs aimed at improving the health, and mental health outcomes of Latinos should include addressing structural inequalities, such as those related to education, income, access to health insurance, and citizenship status.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Creating Infrastructures for Latino Mental Health|
|Editors||Lydia P. Buki, Lissette M. Piedra|
|State||Published - Sep 3 2011|