Despite pandemic, Latinos' economic power is growing
Even as Latinos have been marginalized in some boardrooms, overall U.S. Latino buying power and economic output grew during the pandemic.
The big picture: In 2020, Latinos spent $1.84 trillion, representing a consumption market larger than the entire economies of Canada or South Korea, according to a report released last week by the nonprofit Latino Donor Collaborative.
- That's likely due to a strong workforce that rebounded quickly despite a disproportionate rate of infections, the report says.
- It also says the total economic output of U.S. Latinos reached $2.8 trillion in 2020, comparable to the GDPs of the U.K. and India.
- Pay in low-wage positions like hospitality and service jobs — in which Latinos are overrepresented — also grew over the last couple of years as businesses struggled to find workers.
Zoom in: Hispanic Texans in 2019 earned $213.7 billion, with more than $50 billion going to taxes, leaving them with $162.4 billion in spending power that can be reinvested in local communities, per a report last year by a business coalition.
Between the lines: "Hispanics can demand a seat at the table now that we can show that what we bring to the dinner party is crucial," J.R. Gonzales, executive vice chair of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce, said at that report's release.
Yes, but: The Austin-area median Latino household earns almost $27,000 less than the median white household, per federal data.
- Much of the Latino workforce in Austin is "confined to minimal incomes," according to a 2021 report by Austin's Hispanic Impact Fund, an initiative aimed at advancing Latino futures across Central Texas, because of a job skills gap, educational discrepancies or unfamiliarity with English.
What they're saying: "Latinos have proven to be a tremendous source of resilience for the broader U.S. economy, even in the face of a one-in-a-century global crisis such as COVID-19," authors of the Latino Donor Collaborative report wrote.
- "The performance of Latinos during the pandemic is exemplified by income data. From 2010 to 2020, Latinos enjoyed significantly higher wage and salary income growth than non-Latinos," they added.
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