According to a Pew Research Center survey, 6 out 10 Hispanics believe scientists are trustworthy, but only 6 percent of them feel that Latino scientists are visible enough in STEM careers.
The survey included nearly 15,000 adults in the United States, with 3,716 Hispanics providing most of the responses. A series of focus groups with 29 Latino participants was also used in the report.
These results provide a comprehensive overview of Hispanic Americans' views on science education, science representation, interactions with the health system during the pandemic and overall trust in science-related news.
Nearly three-quarters of Hispanic Americans believe they can "rely very much or all" on experts regarding the coronavirus vaccines and vaccinations. However, many expressed frustration at the way news about the virus is being shared between political parties.
Nearly half of the population was talking about vaccines and the virus in December 2021. Most Hispanic adults also rated the competence of medical research as "largely positive"
According to the report, around two-thirds of respondents prefer to see Hispanic healthcare providers. A third of respondents prefer Spanish-speaking providers.
One Hispanic man, who was part of the focus group, said that he believes they often don't feel obliged to give us the best treatment or hope. "If they see us coming in, or they see that we're helping them out, I think they feel like they don't have to give us all the best medicine." They give us information that isn't as good or don't give it to us because they feel we are poor.
The report states that more than half of Hispanics think their community is not at the top of STEM-related career paths. "Relatively few" Hispanic adults also believe that most scientists are welcoming to Hispanic professionals working in these fields.
Hispanic college students who are in STEM fields, including engineering, science, and mathematics, recall at least one type of mistreatment. This is a 13 percent increase over white adults working in similar positions. The report highlights one example: 34 percent of Hispanics who studied in STEM fields recall feeling "as though they couldn't understand the subject matter," while only 22 percent of white adults felt the same.
Hispanics are historically underrepresented in STEM fields in America, despite being a growing and disproportionately large population. An earlier Pew survey in 2018 showed that many adults believe this dynamic could be due to a dearth of role models in STEM fields and racial or ethnic discrimination in hiring, recruitment, and professional advancement.
The survey results show that half of Latino adults believe more visibility for high-achieving Hispanics would increase interest in STEM to attract more students.
"More of them. One Latino member of the focus group said that we need to see more people.