Poverty Is Relative: Our Poor, Their Rich
If immigrants, especially Hispanics, are card-carrying members of the U.S. underclass, society at large is having a hard time convincing them of it: Latino immigrants are too busy working, buying cars, purchasing homes, and even investing abroad.
Such a lifestyle is not exactly the picture of poverty. The poor are supposed to be the down and out -- the hungry and depressed standing in bread lines. Under this stereotype, they struggle for basic goods and services and are left outside the mainstream, unable to get ahead.
Yet observers of the Latino experience in the United States say that Hispanic immigrants generally don't fit this mold for two basic reasons: choices and attitude. Immigrants cut what corners they can to keep rent, health care, sundry expenses and taxes to a minimum. They also leave family behind, clearly the most painful among their money-saving strategies to reduce the number of dependents in the United States.
The income they pull together from their jobs is pumped into work-related expenses and living essentials, putting 90 percent of their earnings back into the U.S. economy, according to the IDB. Most of the rest of their incomes they invest in their homelands as remittances. [Read]