Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2004


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 14, No. 2, 2004. Copyright © 2004 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


This descriptive study identifies the key concerns voiced by the Hispanic community and service providers in rural southwestern Missouri. Three surveys were conducted in 2001 with 381 Latino adults, Latino youth, and human service providers located in over 20 rural cities and towns throughout southwest Missouri. Demographic information, socioeconomic status, and mobility patterns of Latino respondents are profiled, and their housing, educational, and healthcare needs are reported. Language barriers, legal and documentation issues, a lack of job availability, and nonacceptance in the broader community are identified as key concerns of Latinos. Human-service providers identified language barriers, a lack of understanding of cultural differences, a lack of funds to develop culturally appropriate services, and a lack of job availability for Latinos with lower formal education as significant problems. Strategies for improving access to basic health, educational, and social services through a service integration model are suggested.