Las Jefas

Hispanics, The Heartbeat of America

By Marisa Rivera

I always look forward to Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) because it gives us an opportunity to highlight and honor the work and the many contributions of our Hispanic American brothers and sisters. Hispanics are 62.1 million (U.S. Census) beautiful, hard-working, passionate, and full-of-values individuals who have contributed and continue to contribute to the American society, culture, economy, and overall progress.

I also look forward to the day when we are seen, heard, and valued enough for what we have contributed to America and the day when we can break all the misconceptions and negative stereotypes of Hispanics. The fact is, if Latinos Thrive, America Thrives! And WE ARE THRIVING!! So, let us set the record straight. Hispanics are a driving economic force, not a burden. “Hispanic GDP is 2.8 Trillion dollars in the U.S., making it the fifth largest economy in the world. They have a growth in consumption three times higher than non-Latino groups and they presented a growth of 87 percent in their purchasing power of $1.9 trillion, the highest within key minority markets ($1.6T for African Americans, $1.3T for Asian Americans and $140B for Indigenous Americans (LDC US Latino GDP Report). Hispanics provide an infusion of trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy every year.”

Latinos are today’s and tomorrow’s workforce. Hispanics are outnumbering all other racial and ethnic groups in population growth. We represent 19 percent of the U.S. population (Census 2020). In addition, the median age of Latinos is 29 years old, versus the median age in the U.S. of 39 years old. (Statista 2022). This younger generation is on its way to becoming consumers, employees, voters, and the very future of this country.

Hispanics will represent 53 percent of the U.S. population growth in the next five years (Hispanic Market Guide 2021-HMC). According to LDC, 48 percent of essential workers in the U.S. are Hispanic, or 29 million individuals – a working force who stepped up during pandemic times, including nurses, agricultural and construction workers, commercial cleaning services, first responders, and more.

The U.S. needs a young, educated, hard-working workforce to stay competitive in a global market – Hispanics provide that competitive advantage.

Hispanics are creating jobs, not taking jobs away. Latinos and Latinas are GOOD for business. Latino-owned businesses outpaced non-Latino-owned businesses (Biz2Credit, 2021) and Latinas continue to be the fastest-growing small business and create businesses six times faster than any other group in America (Pew Research 2020). Keep supporting Latino businesses, if they grow and prosper- America grows and prospers! Hispanics are providing security and exporting peace within all military forces. Latinos defend this country. We are the second oldest ethnic group after native Americans that have fought in every war for freedom and security since the birth of this great nation.

Despite all the incredible contributions Hispanics make to the U.S., they are still underrepresented, misrepresented, and undervalued for what they bring to the table. For example, only 4.3 percent of the executive suites are represented by Latino Individuals, and only 3 percent of Fortune 500 board seats are held by Latinos. (HACR).

Hispanics are more than the stereotyped landscapers, nannies, cleaning crew, or delivery persons – we are thought leaders, musicians, actors and filmmaking icons, athletes, doctors, nurses, entrepreneurs, and top corporate executives. We are taxpayers, voters, and military officers. We are familias, individuals, young people and beloved abuelitos and abuelitas that are providing a heartbeat to America. We have all been enriched by the work and contributions of the Hispanic Community. Let’s continue to thrive together!