U.S. Latino economic output grows to $3.2 trillion, according to new study


Latinos are the engine of growth in the U.S., says Sol Trujillo

The U.S. Latino economy continues to grow, reaching $3.2 trillion in 2021, up from $2.8 trillion the year prior, according to a new report by the Latino Donor Collaborative in partnership with Wells Fargo.

Over the last decade, the U.S. Latino economy has grown two and a half times faster than the non-Latino equivalent, surpassing the gross domestic product of the United Kingdom, India, France and Italy, according to the report released Wednesday by LDC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group focused on reshaping perceptions of U.S. Latinos through data and economic research.

If Latinos were an independent country, their GDP would rank fifth in the world, the study found.

“We have a massive economy that’s under-invested right now, under-engaged,” said Sol Trujillo, Latino Donor Collaborative chairman, in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

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Industry strength for Latinos remains steady in accommodation and food services, construction, administrative support, waste management and transportation.

While growth for the Latino community remains widespread in the U.S. geographically, the community drove particular growth in the states of California, Texas and Florida, amounting to $682 billion, $465 billion and $240 billion of economic impact, respectively.

That is largely due to the Latino community’s strong population share, labor force participation and overall productivity in those states.

“I would say if you look at the charts now that we have in our study, 48 out of the 50 states’ growth is tied to this [Latino] cohort,” Trujillo said.

Spectators cheer during Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. Thousands of people lined both sides of Fifth Avenue for the annual parade, which recognizes the achievements and influence of Puerto Ricans and Latinos in the city.

Eric Thayer | Reuters

The California Latino economy alone would rank as the 21st largest economy in the world, between Poland and Switzerland, according to LDC’s analysis.

In Latino emerging markets, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire have seen a surprising surge, with the highest GDP growth rates since 2011. In South Dakota, the economic impact of Latinos grew at an annual rate of 11.8% in 2021, according to LDC, slightly outpacing its neighbor.

“Businesses operating in these areas must stay ahead of these substantial changes to ensure they remain relevant,” LDC noted in the report. “And be able to meet the needs of their evolving customer base.”

The report also found that Latinos’ wages and salary incomes — totaling $1.67 trillion in 2021 — grew more than those of non-Latinos over the previous decade at an annualized rate of 4.7% compared to 1.9% for non-Latinos.

But despite the rapid growth, a substantial wage gap persists in the country, with the average Latino worker earning 80 cents for every $1 earned by white non-Hispanic employees.

Latinos’ purchasing power in the U.S. was strong and reached $3.4 trillion in 2021. Collective purchasing power of U.S. Latinos grew between 2.1 and 2.4 times faster than non-Latino counterparts, according to the report.

“In the rest of this century, this cohort is only going to get bigger and bigger,” said Trujillo. “So those who want to get in early, think about it. Think about capital and fund structures that could flow.”

The findings were released alongside the L’Attitude conference examining the state of Latino leadership, participation and representation in corporate America, as well as in the public, media and entertainment sectors.

The report is based on data from 2021, the most recent year for which information is publicly available. It includes data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among others.