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Furthering his efforts to reach out to minorities, Donald Trump at a rally in Tampa decried how Hispanics have fared economically under President Barack Obama.
"Hispanic citizens have been suffering under this president," Trump said Aug. 24, 2016. "Since President Obama came into office, another 2 million Hispanics have joined the ranks of those in poverty. Two million have joined the ranks of poverty, not of wealth. I want you to join the ranks of people that are making phenomenal livings. ... The number of Hispanic children living in poverty increased by 15 percent in that short period of time."
To test the accuracy of Trump’s comment, we turned to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which tracks poverty by age and race, among other characteristics. The most recent full year for which data has been published is 2014.
Overall Hispanic poverty
The data shows that Trump is on target if you start the clock in 2008, the year before Obama took office.
Between 2008 and 2014, the number of Hispanics in poverty rose by a little over 2.1 million. But using that time span means using the year before Obama took office -- not "since" he took office -- and it also cherry-picks the data to largely precede the severe recession that began before Obama took office.
Starting the clock in 2009 produces a smaller increase (754,000). If you started the clock in 2010, Hispanic poverty decreased by 418,000.
Meanwhile, Trump’s comment also uses raw numbers of people in poverty, when statisticians usually prefer poverty rates, since rates take into account changes in the overall population being studied.
If you use poverty rates instead of raw numbers, then Hispanic poverty has risen slightly since 2008 (0.4 percentage points), but has fallen by 1.7 points since 2009 and by 2.9 points since 2010.
The chart below shows that Hispanic poverty rates have been declining for the latter part of Obama’s tenure.
So Trump has presented a misleading picture of overall Hispanic poverty trends.
Hispanic child poverty
As for the Hispanic child poverty figures, the Census Bureau does show an increase of 15 percent in raw numbers between 2008 and 2014.
But the same caveats from the previous statistic apply -- namely, starting at 2008 is problematic.
If you instead start the clock in 2009, the increase in raw numbers was less than 1 percent, and if you start in 2010, it fell by 5 percent.
As for the poverty rate among Hispanic children, it’s up by 1.3 percentage points since 2008, but down by 1.9 percentage points since 2009 and down 3 points since 2010.
So, here too, Trump’s statistic is misleading.
Trump said that "since President Obama came into office, another 2 million Hispanics have joined the ranks of those in poverty. … The number of Hispanic children living in poverty increased by 15 percent in that short period of time."
The numbers are close to accurate only if you start counting in 2008, before Obama took office and before the full effects of a recession that Obama inherited. And overall, the comment ignores that since the recession hit, Obama has overseen a general decline in Hispanic poverty.
The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, so we rate it Mostly False.
Donald Trump, prepared remarks at a rally in Tampa, Aug. 24, 2016
U.S. Census Bureau, Table 2. Poverty Status of People by Family Relationship, Race, and Hispanic Origin, accessed Aug. 24, 2016
U.S. Census Bureau, Table 3. Poverty Status of People, by Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin, accessed Aug. 24, 2016
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