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Riding the Latino Economic Rocket

Latinos fuel the economy as it takes off

By Ana Valdez

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Hold onto your seats because the Latino economic juggernaut is barreling down the tracks at lightning speed, and you do not want to miss this ride! Picture this: nearly 20% of the nation's population and a whopping 25% of its young guns are Latinos, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Latino Donor Collaborative, they're not just a demographic. They're a $3.2 trillion powerhouse of GDP, single-handedly giving the U.S. economy a turbo boost. In fact, if they were their own country, U.S. Latinos would be ranked as the fifth largest economy on the planet! Larger and more powerful than any country in the world, except for the United States overall, China, Japan, and Germany! Can you imagine the seismic shifts their future holds?

Take a glance at California and Texas, Latino strongholds that aren't just states—they're economic titans. Together, they punch in a jaw-dropping 30% of the total U.S. GDP, and Latinos are the largest population in those two states, more than Anglos and any other cohort, proving that the Latino economic surge isn't just a wave; it's a tidal wave reshaping the business landscape in the top American states and many other smaller ones. And over the past 11 years, the U.S. Latino GDP has skyrocketed by a staggering 88%, leaving giants like England, France, Russia, and Canada eating their dust.

But hold onto your hats because the Latino economic rollercoaster is just starting! With Latino incomes racing ahead at double the speed of non-Latinos, their purchasing power has hit an astronomical $3.4 trillion. They're not just buying cars and homes—they're fueling industries and shaping markets, representing a whopping 24% of car sales and gearing up to dominate over 60% of new homeownership in the next two decades.

And here's the kicker: for those still sleeping on this goldmine, wake up! Ignoring the Latino economic revolution is practically handing your competitors a treasure map. It’s. a blind spot that is costing you millions. With their hard work, birth rate, youth, academic attainment, entrepreneurship, employment rate, traditional resilience, and unwavering values, Latinos aren't just climbing the ladder of success—they're building it from the ground up. They've powered a staggering 63% of labor force growth since 2010 and are poised to contribute 72% of all the new net workforce in the next 10 years.

From engineering to tech, they're leading the charge, with a 65% increase in science and engineering programs. Did you know that in 2010, 4% of all engineering students in the United States were Latinos, and by 2021, the percentage had grown to 16%? And when it comes to embracing the latest tech trends like AI, Latinos aren't just keeping up—they're setting the pace.

So why is it that you may not know this data? Why is there a gap between stereotypes/rhetoric about Hispanics and the compelling economic and social value of this cohort? The answer is media. In all media, from entertainment films and shows to news media’s TV and printed press to many social media algorithms and content creators, Latinos in the U.S. have been invisible at best—only 3% of all leads on shows and platforms for the last seven years—and stereotyped and cast as narcos, criminals or victims, at worst. And although there has been a much-deserved change in media for other communities, Latinos have not been included in this change. In English media, Latinos remain invisible or ill-portrayed, and this is the reason why we remain a mystery for the general public and, in some cases, for our own Latino community, which is consciously and unconsciously affected by this erasure in mass images and stories. And there is no good reason for this erasure as the success rate of Latino-led shows is more than proven: Wednesday, The Lincoln Lawyer, Will Trend, The Last of Us, Big Piece, etc.. These shows led by Latinos have become the #1 show of each of their platforms not only in the US but globally. Only 3% of shows are led by Latinos, but the few make for much of the industry’s success. Imagine their revenue if they represented us proportionately and authentically!

This needs to stop because it is damaging for all Americans. Not only does it affect our children and all Latinos as a cruel constant message of contradiction, lack of value, and diminishing self-perception, but it damages our economy by creating and reinforcing daily the costly blind spot of where the economic growth is coming from, and where the real opportunities are for all American leaders and resource allocators! This stereotype is literally costing billions to American businesses, starting with the entertainment industry: according to our friends at McKinsey, this year, Hollywood is leaving $18 Billion dollars on the table by not telling Latino stories, casting Latino talent, or hiring behind the camera Latino decision-making staff!! And that unfortunate pattern of leaving money on the table extends to most industries and is suffered by most American business leaders without them even knowing it!

So, what's the bottom line? Ignoring the Latino economic powerhouse isn't just foolish—it's downright reckless. The growth being produced by Latinos is undeniable, and the possibility of riding their growth wave is endless. From businesses to policymakers, it's indispensable that the real data is spread and known because it is time to hop on board the Latino economic rocket if you want to continue soaring toward a future where success knows no bounds!

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