Hispanics in U.S. Optimistic about their Personal Finances
Overall, 69 percent of Hispanics indicate that they are financially better off today than a year ago, up 4 points from the last quarter. In addition, 78 percent of Hispanics are optimistic about their financial future, up 7 points from the previous quarter.
Hispanics in the U.S. are more optimistic about their financial situation and their economic conditions have generally improved in the first three months of 2018, according to a new national consumer sentiment index conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) in FAU’s College of Business.
The Hispanic Consumer Sentiment Index (HCSI), taken from January through March 2018, stands at 98.9, up 5.4 points from the fourth quarter of 2017, and the highest score since the index went to a quarterly count in 2016. The index is 2.5 points below the 101.4 score for the overall U.S. population for December, as published by the University of Michigan.
Hispanics are more optimistic about their personal finances in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the last quarter of 2017. Overall, 69 percent of Hispanics indicate that they are financially better off today than a year ago, up 4 points from the last quarter. In addition, 78 percent of Hispanics are optimistic about their financial future, up 7 points from the previous quarter. Finally, 69 percent of Hispanics think it is a good time to purchase big-ticket items for their homes, up 17 points from the last quarter of 2017.
“Perhaps this is due to the fact that interest rates are going up and it is better to lock lower interest rates today,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of FAU BEPI. “Most Hispanics expect interest rates to increase in the next few months.”
Level of debt has dropped among Hispanics, with only 22 percent reporting debt as a major problem, down from 30 percent in the previous quarter. Overall, 50 percent report debt as a minor problem and 28 percent said it was not a problem at all.
Nearly 6 in 10 Hispanics (59 percent) said it was a good time to buy a home and 62 percent said it was a good time to buy a car. However, the cost of living continues to increase for the majority of Hispanics, with 59 percent saying it has gone up while 23 percent saying it has gone down. A majority of Hispanics (53 percent) expect gas prices to increase, while 17 percent think gas prices would go down.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s approval rating among Hispanics rose from 33 to 37 percent in the first quarter of 2018, just two points below the high of 39 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Of those surveyed, 18 percent identified themselves as Republicans, 48 percent Democrats, 23 percent Independents and 11 percent were not registered.
The survey was conducted nationally from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2018. The random polling sample consisted of 755 Hispanics, 18 years of age and older, with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent. The survey was administered using both landlines via IVR data collection (24 percent) and online data collection (76 percent) using Survey Sampling International. Responses for the entire sample were weighted to reflect the national distribution of the Hispanic population by region, education, gender, income and age according to latest American Community Survey data.