If Latinxs were our own country, we’d be the fifth-largest economy in the world.
That’s one of the biggest takeaways from a new report released Wednesday by the Latino Donor Collaborative— a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization “dedicated to reshaping the perception of Latinos as part of the American social mainstream” — in collaboration with Wells Fargo. The study was unveiled as part of the annual L’Attitude conference. (Full disclosure: In 2022, I moderated a conversation with Ana Valdez, president and chief executive of LDC, about a separate report the organization puts out that looks at Latinx representation in film and television.)
The report is based on data from 2021 and is intended for the edification of business and political leaders.
Other key findings include:
- In 2021, the Latinx gross domestic product was estimated to be $2.7 trillion, trailing only the GDPs of the United States ($23.7 trillion), China ($17.7 trillion), Japan ($4.9 trillion) and Germany ($4.3 trillion). The Latinx GDP is greater than India’s ($2.7 trillion) and the United Kingdom’s ($3.1 trillion).
- U.S. Latinx purchasing power for 2021 is estimated to be $3.4 trillion.
- Latinx income grew to $2 trillion in 2021. Between 2011 and 2021, income grew at an annualized rate of 4.7% for Latinxs, compared with 1.9% for non-Latinxs during that same period.
The report does a great job at making the case for investing in Latinx communities, which is ultimately its purpose.
“It is imperative that we now invest in the future of our country by investing in U.S. Latinos,” wrote Sol Trujillo, co-founder and chairman of the LDC, in a letter that preceded the complete findings.
“This is not about diversity and inclusion. This is just business.”
I wholeheartedly endorse any effort to remind businesses — or anyone for that matter— that if you ignore Latinxs, you do so at your own peril. I myself have employed a version of this idea when I pitched the Latinx Files and De Los, telling my bosses that if the L.A. Times wanted to secure its future, it needed to invest resources in covering a population that makes up half of our coverage area.
But I would like to point out to anyone reading this that even if our collective GDP wasn’t bigger than India’s, we would still very much be deserving of dignity, respect and visibility.
It can be a slippery slope to tie our worth to our economic output.
Many Latinxs who have seen a hardworking parent retire can tell you about the identity crisis that comes with no longer having a job to define them. It’s such a common occurrence that it was fodder for one of the funniest episodes in the latest season of the Hulu comedy “This Fool”— in “Los Personas Invisibles,” Esperanza (Laura Patalano) adjusts to retiring from her janitorial job by convincing a confused, elderly white lady that she is her maid.
I’m not entirely sure what our purpose on this planet is, but I have to believe that it’s more than just being a productive worker.
You can find the complete report here.