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Title The New Majority: How Will Latino Youth Succeed in the Context of Low Educational Expectations and Assumptions of Sexual Irresponsibility?
Source Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 11, 4, pp. 348-362
Year 2014
Database SpringerLink
Access date 09.12.2014

Latino youth are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the USA and will soon comprise a significant portion of our future leadership and workforce. Prejudicial stereotypes about Latino youth—such as the assumption that teen pregnancy will inevitably lead to lower educational attainment—ignore significant advancements in educational and sexual health outcomes and contribute to inequities in health and education policies. A total of 332 Latino-identified youth living in California gave voice to their educational aspirations, challenges, and sexual and reproductive health needs through an exploratory mixed-methods research study. Youth participated in interviews and focus groups (n = 105) and in a statewide survey (n = 227) to explore assets that help youth overcome discriminatory low expectations and improve sexual decision making and educational aspirations. Results indicated most Latino youth desire to attend college. Likelihood of attending college was associated with individual and environmental assets. Lower likelihood of attending college was associated with perceived discrimination from teachers. Sexually active youth reported high levels of contraceptive use. Many youth want to defy the negative stereotypes and are seeking successful futures despite the structural challenges and social bias. There is an urgent need to reframe the negative public discourse about Latino youth, to acknowledge their resilience and to address underlying structural factors creating inequities. Specific policy recommendations are provided to promote positive sexual health and educational outcomes among Latino youth.

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Year of publication2014
Bibliographic typeJournal article
Full text availabilityAvailable on request