America Is Not Ready for the Latino Age Wave

By Rockeymoore, Maya | Aging Today, January/February 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

America Is Not Ready for the Latino Age Wave

Rockeymoore, Maya, Aging Today

With the number of older adults expected to double in coming decades, popular media coverage about the aging of the U.S. population has focused almost exclusively on the retirement of the baby boom generation and the increasing demands that an aging population will place on the nation's budget. Virtually overlooked has been another phenomenon of equal importance: the shifting ethnic composition of America's older adults.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the United States will become majority-minority by 2042. Much of this shift will be driven by the growth of the Latino population, which is expected to more than double, from 48.4 million in 2009 to 106.2 million people by the year 2050. And, although Census figures indicate that people of color will make up about 42 percent of the elderly population by 2050, they are likely to be the majority of older adults by the year 2070.

Given these changes, it is imperative to assess whether our nation's mainstream aging infrastructure is prepared to meet the challenge of serving a diverse older population. Furthermore, the needs of Latino and other ethnic older adults must be understood not only from the perspective of whether general aging assets exist in communities where they live, but also whether they have equal access to these resources.


In 2010, Hispanics in Philanthropy commissioned a study in an effort to better understand the extent to which the country's aging network is prepared to assist Latino older adults. Among several assessments in the study, the authors conducted an audit of 24 randomly selected Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to determine the amount of information and support available for Spanish speakers. This audit revealed the following:

*A majority of the audited AAAs proved to be unable to serve Spanishspeaking clients upon first contact. Only 13% had representatives who were proficient in Spanish. The remaining AAAs referred callers to another agency or office that they thought might be able to serve as a translator.

* More than half of the AAAs did not have Spanish hardcopies of their resources or Spanish translations on their websites.

* Nine of the 24 agencies also were unaware whether they could provide any Spanish resources in hardcopy form, and one-fourth was unsure, about whether Spanish resources were available on their websites.

*A majority of the agencies referred callers to online databases to search for services, organizations and other information - a daunting process for older adults or family caregivers with limited technological proficiency or English-speaking abilities.

* Only 2 1 percent of the organizations had their entire website available in Spanish. Sixty-two percent did not have their websites available in. Spanish, and 17 percent had websites that either had a component that was available in Spanish (e.g., a dir rectory) or could be translated into Spanish through another website (i.e.,

As the primary agencies intended to serve as a resource to people seeking to identify aging services, the AAA's inability to provide these services to clients seeking Spanish-language assistance underscores that the nation's federally funded aging infrastructure is ill-prepared to handle the needs of an increasingly diverse society.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

America Is Not Ready for the Latino Age Wave


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?