Over the last year, we have seen presidential candidates tailor their messaging to Latino Voters, pander at us and even insult us. While some of these tactics are beyond distasteful, candidates are right in recognizing that Latinos are a powerful force. Latinos represent a huge voting block that can highly influence election outcomes and candidates need to pay attention to Latino communities.
But Latinos are more than votes. Latinos contribute to American Society in a myriad ofways—socially, culturally, economically and more. In honor of Tax Day, let’s take a look at the economic impact that Latinos have on the U.S. economy.
In 2013, Latinos contributed more than 190 billion in U.S. Tax revenues1. That includes federal taxes, including individual and corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, and state and local taxes. Through their tax contributions, Latinos pay into governments funded programs that many Americans benefit from, like Social Security, infrastructure, education, community development etc.
Latinos also create jobs and develop local economies. Latinos currently start more small businesses than any other group in the U.S. Latino-owned businesses contribute almost $500 billion each year. Latinos are expected to contribute over 1.7 Trillion to the economy by 2020.
The numbers are impressive and we need to celebrate Latino’s economic contributions but also acknowledge the significant gaps in the Latino economic progress. The American government is falling short in providing equitable resources and opportunities to Latino families. Although 25 million Latino workers make up the U.S. labor force, a significant portion is concentrated in low-wage jobs. Also, the current unemployment rate among Latinos is 6.4 percent—almost 1.5 times the rate for whites (4.4 percent). The unemployment rate is especially high among young Latinos.
Unemployment coupled with low-wages and other factors lead to poverty. Latinos are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-Latino white Americans. Poverty has serious consequences on Latino’s health status, education opportunities and other indicators of progress.
Latinos economic strides are worthy of recognition but the inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities is unacceptable. Let’s show candidates that Latinos matter. Make sure you and your family and friends are registered to vote. Together we can shift the national dialogue, demand legislation that works in our favor, and delivers the change we need for our communities to thrive.
- NCLR, http://blog.nclr.org/2015/04/15/the-economic-impact-of-latino-workers-a-by-the-numbers-breakdown-for-tax-day/ . 2015.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, Unemployment Rate – Black, 16 Years & Over (January 2005 through September 2015); Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, Unemployment Rate – White, 16 Years & Over (January 2005 through September 2015).
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, 2014 Table 3: Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population by age, sex, and race.
- Matt Weeks, “Asians, Hispanics driving U.S. economy forward, according to UGA study” UGA Today (September 24, 2015)