Latinx People in the Contemporary and Future U.S. Workforce—Debunking Myths with Facts

The end of another Latinx/Hispanic Heritage month ends on October 15th following special events and celebrations on campuses and in workplaces.  In this newsletter, the Arredondo Advisory Group (AAG) will focus on a set of facts about the heterogenous Latinx population that have relevance for employers and university administrators as they plan for the future.

The Big Picture

Since the 1990’s demographic projections have underscored growth for the Latinx/Hispanic populations based on immigration and childbirth. However, in 2000, a downturn in immigration began particularly from Mexico, the source of the largest percentage of Latinx immigrants. Current annual growth since 2010 is 2.0% down from 3-4 % in previous years (Flores, Lopez, & Krogstad (2019). Additionally, births to Latinas are down. Women, particularly of Mexican heritage historically have had the highest percentage of childbirths. That fell by 31% between 2007-2107 (Tavernise, 2019). The most important fact of these trends, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, is that the U.S.-born Latinx population is currently 67% and the foreign-born or immigration Latinx population is 33% (Lopez, Gonzalez-Barerra, & Lopez, 2017).

Compelling Facts for Today and Tomorrow

Most employers will argue that business success is about talent, competence, and fit, and for the foreseeable future, Latinx people will be contributors to business success. However, in the midst of a tense sociopolitical climate Latinx people are often portrayed in the media as primarily non-English-speaking immigrants or the “other”.  Accepting these images is a mistake for employers and institutions of higher education because there are compelling facts that indicate that this population cannot be ignored. Currently, Latinx people are approximately 18% or 60 million of the U.S. population as reported in the Community Population Survey (2017). It is predicted that by 2050, Latinx will be nearly 30% of the total population (Monthly Labor Review, 2015).

The fact that 67% of the current Latinx population has been born in the U.S., introduces other co-relating data points regarding age, English proficiency, education, the economy, professions, women in the workplace, and geography.

Age

  • Latinos continue to be the youngest cultural group with a median age of 30. This compares to 44 for Whites, 34 for Blacks, and 37 for those of Asian heritage.
  • Of the U.S.-born Latinx eligible to be in the workforce, or who may be enter the workforce, 42% are ages 18-64 and 35% are younger than 18.
  • The 42% data point is noteworthy for universities and employers alike.
  • Those younger than 5 through age 17 equal 45% of the overall Latino population.

Children

There are other considerations about the Latinx children:

  • 1-5 public school kindergartners are Latino; more than double since 2000.
  • In 18 states and DC, Latino children accounted for at least 20% of P.S. kindergartners.
  • Fall 2019: 52.9% of K-12 are ethnic minority students (all backgrounds)

The Economy

  • Today: “If the Latino GDP were a country, it would be the 7th largest in the world” (www.latinocollaborative.org, 2019).
  • The GDP produced by Latinos in 2015 was $2.13 trillion (Latino Futures Research).
  • By 2020, Latino purchasing power will exceed $1.7 trillion (Selig Center for Economic Growth).
  • Latino entrepreneurship growth continues with 4.27 million Latino-owned business in the U.S. (SaludAmerica!, 2019)

Education 

In order to increase contributions to the future workforce and to their families, Latinx educational achievement has to increase. The current pipeline of 35% of the population under age 18 is a call to action. It appears that community colleges are the destination for the majority of Latinx today. This is a factor of proximity to home/family, economics, mentorship, and role models among other factors.  There are opportunities for universities and employers in the 10 largest U.S. counties referenced below to be more proactive.

Education of Latinos, 25 years and older:

High School Community College Bachelors
All Latinx 59% 25% 16%
U.S.-born 47% 33% 20%
Foreign Born 71% 29% 12%
All U.S. 39% 29% 32%

English Proficiency

The language barrier has been described as a factor for Latinos in the workforce, education, or with respect to access to healthcare. Though individuals may continue to speak Spanish at home with parents and grandparents, there are changing trends. Again, the facts about English proficiency are remarkable particularly for U.S.-born Latinos.

  • Those 5 years and older: U.S. born=90% report that they are English proficient;
  • 64% of adults report they are English-proficient,
  • Among the foreign born=36% report English-proficiency.

Geography

  • Fastest growth of Latinx continues in the South; up 33% from 5.6 mil in 2008.
  • 10 largest counties with Latinos are in CA, TX, IL, Fl & AZ with implications for colleges and universities, new business development, and employers. (Flores, O., Lopez, M.H. & Krogstad, J.M., July 2019)

Immigration

  • Immigration from Mexico has steadily decreased since 2000.
  • New immigration is arriving particularly from India and Central America.
  • Unauthorized immigrants have been in the in the U.S. at least 10-20 years. They are considered long-term residents.

Latinas

  • Latinas constituted 16.4% of the female population in 2013; this is projected to increase to 25.7% in 2050 (Center for American Progress, 2013).
    • Women ages 15-44 has doubled since 2000 (Cilluffo, A. & Cohn, D’Vera, April 17, 2017).
  • The college graduation rates for Latinas have increased faster than any other group of women since 2012 but still significantly lower than those of White women (Center for American Progress, 2013).
  • Latinas enroll in all levels of higher education at higher rates than their male counterparts.
  • More Latinas are choosing careers over motherhood with the support of their families. Although Latinas, particularly women of Mexican heritage, have had the highest percentage of childbirths, that fell by 31% between 2017-2017.

Summary

Our intention in sharing this current data points is to point to opportunities for universities and employers.


Related References

Center for American Progress (2013).

Cilluffo, A. & Cohn, D’Vera (April 17, 2017). Immigrants are driving overall workforce growth in the U.S. Pew Hispanic Research. 

Demographic characteristics of U.S. Hispanic population, 2017 (2019). Pew Research Center.

Flores, A., Lopez, M.H., & Krogstad, J. (2019). U.S. Hispanic population reached a new high in 2018, but growth has slowed. Pew Hispanic Research.

http://latinodonorcollaborative.org/latino-gdp-report/

https://salud-america.org/report-food-swamps-are-makings-latinos-obese/

Lopez, M.H., Gonzalez-Barerra, A., & Lopez, G. (2017). Hispanic identity fades across generations. Pew Hispanic Research.

Mora, M. T. The increasing importance of Hispanics to the U.S. workforce. Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 15, 2015, https://doi/org/10.219/mlr.2015.33.

Sukumaran, P. (2019). Latinos power the U.S. economy to a better future. https://salud-america-org/author/sukumaran

Tavernise, S. (2019). Hispanics’ birthrate dives as women pursue inroads. New York Times, p. 3.

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