SAN DIEGO – The Latino population of the United States would rank No. 8 globally as a separate national economy, ahead of countries such as Italy, Brazil and Canada, according to a study released on Thursday.
The 2019 Latino Donor Collective US Latino GDP Report shows that Latino GDP grew 28 percent faster than the rest of the economy between 2010 and 2017, when it reached $2.3 trillion, more than 10 percent of the total of $20.4 trillion for the US as a whole.
By comparison, Italy’s GDP in 2017 was $2 trillion, while Brazil – the economic giant of Latin America – posted $1.9 trillion in GDP.
Drafted by researchers at the California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research & Forecasting and the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health & Culture, the document was presented on the first day of the 2019 edition of L’Attitude, a Latino business and economic conference.
Trujillo Group CEO Sol Trujillo, who leads the Latino Donor Collaborative and is a co-founder of L’Attitude, said that the aim of the report is to make business leaders aware of “where the growth is in the US.”
For years, he said, the economic importance of the Latino community went unnoticed due to a lack of data.
“The idea was to create a document that tells what really is happening with Latinos in the United States. They aren’t people climbing or crawling under walls as is said nowadays,” Trujillo told Efe, alluding to the unflattering portrait of Latinos painted by President Donald Trump.
A co-author of the report, Matthew Fineup, pointed out that while Latinos are just 18 percent of the US population, they have accounted for 82 percent of workforce expansion since the 2008 financial crisis.
“Given robust population growth, high labor force participation, rising incomes, and strong increases in educational attainment, we expect the significant growth premium enjoyed by US Latinos to be maintained in the years ahead,” said Fineup, executive director of California Lutheran’s Center for Economic Research & Forecasting.
“It’s not about building walls, what the United States needs is workers and for that we need a reasonable conversation,” Trujillo said.
The report cites projections that retirements from the labor force will reach a level of 345,000 a month in 2022, creating a requirement for roughly 700,000 new workers to enter the workforce on a monthly basis.
Latinos will be the remedy to the looming shortage of workers in the US, according to report co-author and UCLA chief demographer David Hayes-Bautista.
And the profile of the Latino population is also evolving, as 90 percent of post-millennial Latinos are high school graduates, while the number of Latinos with a university degree surged by 51 percent from 2010 to 2017.
“The cavalry is coming,” Hayes-Bautista said. “This is what will take the US economy into the future.”
Speakers at the four-day L’Attitude event will include filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, music producer and impresario Emilio Estefan, United Airlines CEO Oscar Muñoz and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Julian Castro.