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The kickoff to L’ATTITUDE 2019 was aptly declarative. In 2017, the most recent year measurable, the American Latino GDP was $2.3 trillion. Put into context, if the Latino GDP were a country, it would be the eight largest in the world, and of the top ten economies, it would be the third fastest growing.
The declaration was, in so many words, “Our community is vital to the US, and relevant worldwide.”
“This thing is gobsmacking from start to finish,” began Matthew Fienup, executive director of the center for economic research and forecasting at California Lutheran University and coauthor of the LDC US Latino GDP Report, when speaking about the report the morning of its release while onstage at L’ATTITUDE 2019. “The reality is whether you’re an economist, you’re a policy maker, or you’re just a responsible citizen or resident of the United States, this is important information that needs to be a starting point for an important conversation.”
In an early morning press conference officially releasing the report to the media, David Hayes-Bautista, coauthor of the report and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the University of California at Los Angeles—who was introduced as the “godfather” of the report—explained that the measurement of GDP is important, because it is the figure most widely understood worldwide in regards to population size and growth rate. He also noted that the methods of measuring the Latino GDP were the same methods employed by the Department of Commerce.
Hayes-Bautista honed in on Latino postmillennials (born 1997 or later), identifying this group as the “secret sauce” for America to retain its economic predominance. He noted that most of their parents were immigrants who worked in low-wage agriculture and construction jobs, but the up-and-coming professionals are a very different group. They are native English speakers who are well educated (the report shows that number of Latinos with a college degree increased 51 percent since 2010, while their non-Latino counterparts grew by only 21 percent)—both factors indicating that this generation will earn and consume more than their parents over the course of their careers.
“With America’s declining GDP, shrinking workforce, and more than seven million job vacancies, . . . the US Latino cohort is young, growing six times faster than the rest of our population, and with a higher workforce participation rate.”
Latino postmillennials are an important focus not only because of their numbers and career trajectories, but also because of how that data compares with the rest of the population. US retirement rates will increase more than 15 percent between 2019 and 2022. Yet, to maintain its economic growth rate and meet commitments made to American retirees, the US needs to add more than three hundred thousand jobs per month—which, combined with the loss of retiring workers, means the country needs eight million new workers each year. In this time of potential shortage, the US Latino demographic is surging.
“The cavalry is coming,” Hayes-Bautista said. “This is what will take the US economy into the future.”
Sol Trujillo and Ana Valdez, chairman of the board and executive president (respectively) for the Latino Donor Collaborative, elaborate on the “rescue” sentiment in their letter introducing the report. They write, “With America’s declining GDP, shrinking workforce, and more than seven million job vacancies, US Latinos are the cavalry coming over the hill to rescue our economy. The US Latino cohort is young, growing six times faster than the rest of our population, and with a higher workforce participation rate.”
With information as “gobsmacking” and important as this, it is just as important to determine how the knowledge can be applied. Aptly, Trujillo and Valdez end their letter with a call to action: “It is time for all of us to do everything possible to further catalyze the accelerating US Latino economic engine, which is proven to be a powerful force driving our economy.”
10 Statistics To Know
from the LDC US Latino GDP Report
The economic value of the US Latino community in 2017 was $2.3 trillion. Were it to represent a country on its own, the US Latino GDP would rank as the eighth largest GDP in the world.
3rd Fastest Growing
Between 2010 and 2017, the compound annual growth rate of the US Latino GDP, when compared to the GDP growth rates of other countries, is the third fastest in the world. Comparatively, the growth rate of the broader US economy (including both Latinos and non-Latinos) ranks sixth.
Between 2011 and 2018, the US population growth among Latinos is six times faster than that of non-Latinos.
29.3 Years Old
The median age of US Latinos is 29.3 years, compared to 40.5 years for non-Latinos.
According to Federal Reserve economists, the number of people retiring in the US is forecasted to increase more than 15 percent between now and 2022.
2034 = $0
At its current rate of decline, the US Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted by 2034.
Despite being only 18 percent of the population, US Latinos are responsible for 82 percent of the growth of the US labor force since the financial crisis.
Between 2014 and 2016, the number of Latino-owned businesses grew by 22 percent, compared to just 6 percent growth in the number of non-Latino-owned firms.
In 2016, Latino-owned firms employed nearly three million people.
Stemming from a younger age distribution and the importance of family in Latino culture, the growth in the number of US Latino households between 2010 and 2017 is 19 percent, compared to just 3 percent for non-Latinos. Latinos also have an average household size that is 30 percent larger than non-Latino households.