National Hispanic Heritage Month
The United States is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, which honors “the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America” and runs from September 15 to October 15. The month celebrates those of either Hispanic or Latin American heritage (with the two descriptors often used interchangeably), encompassing more than 62 million people in the United States.
Hispanic Americans have made critical contributions relating to U.S. culture, intellectual insights, and leadership. Equally important are their significant economic contributions to this country as members of the workforce, as consumers, and as entrepreneurs.
Hispanic Americans have had an extraordinary impact on the GDP of the U.S. According to a 2021 report by Latino Donor Collaborative, if the contributions of Latinos to the American economy were calculated in terms of GDP, that number would be close to $2.7 trillion for 2019, compared to $1.7 trillion in 2010. Put another way, “If Latinos living in the United States were an independent country, the U.S. Latino GDP would be tied with France for the seventh-largest GDP in the world.”
A report from The New American Economy notes that, “Hispanic immigrants are significantly more likely to be entrepreneurs than the general U.S. population. More than 12 percent of all Hispanic immigrant workers worked for their own business, making them 30.6 percent more likely to have their own business than the overall U.S. population. There were more than 2.5 million Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States in 2019.” These businesses have steadily added to the workforce, according to Stanford University research, which notes that since 2007, the number of employees at Latino-owned businesses (LOBs) has increased 55%.
Many of these businesses are small to mid-size but there are plenty of big brand names as well. CNBC posted a list of the top Hispanic entrepreneurs in America. Among the names on that list are Beto Perez, the founder of Zumba Fitness (who leads that list), Marcelo Claure the founder of BrightStar, Tony Jimenez the founder of MicroTech, and Maria Contreras-Sweet the founder of ProAmérica Bank.
As we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month it is important to recognize, and learn from, the dynamic influence of Hispanic Americans on our vibrant economy.