The community of U.S. Latinos represents a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.3 trillion, making it the eighth largest economy in the world, ahead of nations like Brazil, Italy and Canada, according to a study released Thursday.
The report, published by the Latino organization Donor Collaborative and academics from California Lutheran University and the University of California at Los Angeles, notes that the GDP growth of the U.S. Hispanic population has remained stable in recent years.
According to the study, the monetary value of Latinos’ production of goods and services rose from $1.7 trillion in 2010 to $2.1 trillion in 2015 and stood at $2.3 trillion in 2017, the latest year for which figures are available.
That figure would be higher than Italy’s current $2 trillion, Brazil’s $1.9 trillion or Mexico’s $1.2 trillion, and would be just behind the US itself as a whole, with some $20.4 trillion, China, Japan, Germany, India, the UK and France.
The presentation of the study was given within the framework of the annual conference L’Attitude, which began this Thursday in San Diego (California) with panels devoted to the economy, politics, media and businesses of the largest ethnic and racial minority in the United States.
Sol Trujillo, president and founder of Latino Donor Collaborative, a nonprofit organization, is one of the attendees.
The entrepreneur lamented that for years the importance of the Latino community in the country’s economic growth was unknown and explains why he studied the contribution of the Latino community.
“The idea was to create a document that tells what is really happening to Latinos in the United States. They’re not people climbing or getting under walls like they say today,” he told Efe in reference to President Donald Trump’s vision of Latinos.
Part of this economic growth is due to the increase in the U.S. Latino population, with a rate six times higher than that of the rest of the U.S. population, while their participation in the labor force is becoming more relevant.
Matthew Fineup, co-author of the report and executive director of California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Estimation, explained that although Latinos make up 18 percent of the total U.S. population, they are responsible for 82 percent of workforce growth since the 2008 financial crisis.
“It’s not about building walls, what America needs is workers and for that we need a reasonable conversation,” Trujillo said.
According to data provided in the study, by 2022 the retirement rate will reach a peak of 345,000 retirees a month, and to sustain this U.S. population it will require an average of 700,000 new workers a month.
That’s where new generations of Latinos become the fundamental workforce to sustain the country, explains David Hayes-Bautista, co-author of the report and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Culture and Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“Sixteen years ago, about one million Latinos were born in the United States and entered the workforce this year. In 2014, one million more were born and will enter the workforce by 2030,” he says.
This also implies a change in the Latino profile in the country, since 90% of the so-called “post-millenials” Latinos graduated from high school and 70% are about to enter university, the academic added.
“Latinos are already on their way to rescue the United States from a demographic bomb,” Hayes-Bautista said.
“They are young, better-educated workers who have significantly higher incomes than their parents and grandparents. They are the ones pushing the economy,” Trujillo added.
In this regard, he said, “the message is that every Latino and Latina should be very proud of what is really happening in the country and not just pay attention to names and labels”.
In his opinion, the reason for not talking about the weight of the Latino community in the U.S. is due to the lack of concrete data to prove it.
Thinking that the conversation about the Latino community should take a turn toward their contributions and economic contributions, the current second edition of L’Attitude was organized as a platform for this public discussion.
This four-day event brings together members of the U.S. Latino community ranging from Democratic nominee Julián Castro to celebrities such as film director Robert Rodríguez and music producer Emilio Estefán, as well as United Airlines CEO Óscar Muñoz and former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez.