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The cast, writers and director for Disney-Pixar's animated feature "Coco." Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Only 5% of lead actors in films and 2.9% in all new and returning television and streaming were Latino in 2020, according to a report.

Why it matters: Media companies face scrutiny amid another report highlighting the underrepresentation of a group that makes up nearly 19% of the population. The study by the research nonprofit firm Latino Donor Collaborative showed a person is more than twice as likely to be an identical twin than for a show to have a Latino lead actor.

  • Ana Valdez, executive president of the Latino Donor Collaborative, told Axios. the lack of Latino representation in popular media affects how young Latinos see themselves and could foster stereotypes about Latinos among everyone else.

By the numbers: Latinos were the only group, compared to Black Americans, Asian Americans and whites, to see their percentages of media representation in movies and shows fall short of proportion to their U.S. population, the study found.

  • Latinos were only 5.5% of all screening representation — yielding a -71% representation ratio compared to the population percentage in the U.S.
  • Comparatively, whites had 81.2% of all screening representation in 2020 even though they are 57.8% of the total U.S. population, the study found.
  • Only 20 out of the 931 shows that aired in primetime and on streaming platforms in the U.S. last year had Latino lead actors.

The 2020 Latino Representation in Media report used U.S. Census data, numbers from the Nielsen Diverse Intelligence Series Report, and examinations of shows and movies over the last four years.

What they're saying: "This is a call to action. This can't continue like this anymore," Ana Valdez, executive president of the Latino Donor Collaborative, told Axios.

The intrigue: The Latino Donor Collaborative recently created THE SOURCE, a database of Latinos who have worked on at least one network show or one studio film during the last four years.

  • Valdez said it's meant as a response to Hollywood executives who say they can't find Latino talent.

Don't forget: The lack of Latinos in media has caught the attention of the White House and members of Congress.

  • The White House last week held a forum on how Latinos are portrayed in media and Hispanics' lack of representation in film and television.
  • A recent preliminary U.S. Government Accountability Office report found that Latinos are severely underrepresented in the media industry.
  • U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a former chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has been outspoken about the lack of Latinos in film and in newsrooms and requested the GAO audit.

Get more news that matters about Latinos in the hemisphere, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sign up for the Axios Latino newsletter.

Go deeper

The Thanksgivings before the Pilgrims

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Images: Library of Congress, Wikipedia

The U.S. celebrates Thanksgiving to commemorate the 1621 feast between 91 Wampanoag members and 53 Pilgrims in present-day Massachusetts. But there were other similar feasts years before the Pilgrims landed, between early Spanish settlers and Indigenous people in what is now the U.S.

Why it matters: The earlier feasts highlight the often-overlooked early Hispanic roots in U.S. history.

Updated 11 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 14 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.