Saturday, June 14, 2008

Minorities Struggling in Oregon

I came across this interesting study in the Portland Observer. It shows that although we’ve made some progress in regard to minority groups, we have a long way to go in Oregon. The entire study can be found at the Oregon Progress Board's web site,

Study looked at healthcare, other factors

Asian Americans living in Oregon have made good progress in education, health and safety and financial status over the past 15 years, according to a new study from the Oregon Progress Board.

But the news is not as positive for the state's growing population of Hispanics, as well as for the small number of African-Americans and American Indians who live in Oregon.

Each group was evaluated based on a host of indicators, including high school and college completion rates, middle school reading and math scores and high school dropout levels.

The study also considered whether minority groups' access to health and prenatal care had improved since 1992, whether crime and poverty rates had fallen and whether home ownership was on the rise.

Nearly all those targets showed improvement for Asians, save for prenatal care rates, which have leveled off since 2000, and poverty levels, which have been flat since 2000.

By contrast, Hispanics continue to lag behind the rest of Oregon in all key educational measures, and nearly one-third lack health insurance, about double that of the overall state rate. Their bright spot was in crime, where researchers found that the arrest rate among Hispanics had dropped substantially since 1990, to near the overall statewide rate.

The picture was more mixed for African-Americans, who made progress in high school completion and prenatal care, though lag behind many other populations in areas including home ownership and middle school test scores.

College completion rates among adults of color have remained level or declined over the past 15 years. Crime has declined for all racial groups.

Fr American Indians, the overall rating was negative, with poverty rates that are roughly double the statewide levels and declining home ownership levels.

The Oregon Progress Board also reported that the state has become more racially and ethnically diverse over the past 15 years.

The board is a state agency that monitors how closely state goals are reflected in the lives of Oregonians.

"The Race and Ethnicity Report underscores the importance of helping all Oregonians, regardless of ethnic or racial background, achieve the benefits of living and working in Oregon," said Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

"We need to intensify our efforts to enable people of color take advantage of the Oregon Opportunity Grant program, which helps students handle the cost of a college education. We need to expand the Oregon Health Plan to ensure that every child in Oregon receives health care. If we enable minority citizens get a good education and ensure that their children are healthy and ready to learn, we'll empower all minority citizens to achieve financial parity with white citizens," Kulongoski said.

The report appears on the Oregon Progress Board's web site,

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