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Who are the Latinx Women Who Move the US? (Part 2)

In honor of Women’s Week, the second article in a two-part series celebrating the Latinx women who move America forward will address economic and political issues. We will pay special attention to data regarding the workforce, entrepreneurship and purchasing power of Latinx women.

Latina women’s participation in the workforce and wages

Allied to youth and possessing the will to succeed in a new country, Latina women are occupying more and more space in the labor market, a characteristic that can help combat the wider exit of women and baby boomers from the workforce.

However, American society as a whole still sees prejudices based on race, ethnicity, sex and migration status, which drives Latina women into occupations with lower wages and inferior working conditions.

  • Over the past two decades, the participation of Latinas in the workforce has increased slowly but steadily, from 55.9% in 1999 to 57.7% in 2019.
  • In 2019, Latinas earned an average of $32,470 — just 55% of what non-Hispanic white men earned and 81% of what Latino men earned. At the current pace of change, the pay gap between Latinas and non-Hispanic white men will not close until the year 2451.
  • Latinas have a strong share in low-paying service occupations: they are twice as likely to work in these types of jobs as white, non-Hispanic women.
  • However, this is not the case in high-paying occupations of management, business and financial operations: one in five white women works in these occupations compared to nearly one in eight Latina women.
  • Latinas are 20% of all women in the Armed Forces and 30% of women in the Marine Corps. A military career offers training, access to quality education, a chance for growth, as well as being a way to show and prove your patriotism.

Latina Entrepreneurs in the US

Opting for entrepreneurship as a means of providing for the family allows for greater flexibility in schedules and autonomy, including hiring other Latinx people, which helps get the LatinX economy going.

Many Latina women see owning their own business as the only option for work, without having to depend on someone else’s decision on whether or not they are the right “fit.”

  • In 2019, there were 2.3 million Latina women-owned businesses representing 18% of all female-owned businesses. In addition, these companies grew almost twice as much as other women-owned companies, at a rate of 40%.
  • Entrepreneurial Latinas accounted for nearly all (93%) of the growth in overall female-owned employing companies between 2017 and 2018, employing nearly 700,000 people.
  • Since 2007, the number of Latinx small business owners has increased faster than any other racial or ethnic segment, representing a growth rate of 172%.
  • Employing companies owned by Latina women are already overtaking companies owned by Latino men, between 2017 and 2018, women’s companies grew by 7.6%, while those by men grew by 1.4%.
  • More than two-thirds of the growth in Latinx-employing companies can be attributed to Latina women.
  • An average of 400 Latina women-owned companies are launched daily, generating $97 billion annually.

Professional and financial stability

Despite advances and achievements, there are still a significant number of Latinas and, consequently, Latinx families without financial stability and with high vulnerability to external events.

As if the salary difference and the difficulty of entering the job market in positions that pay better weren’t enough, any instability in the market has a direct impact on Latina women.

The pandemic, for example, quickly and directly impacted the jobs of these women. One in five was unemployed in April 2020. With the return of economic activities, the unemployment rate among them has already decreased, but the market movement has made the vulnerability of Latina women very clear in this regard.

COVID-19 has had a particularly devastating impact: 21% of Latinas lost their jobs in the early days of the pandemic, nearly a quarter of Latinas do not have access to health insurance, and only 16% have the opportunity to work from home, which makes their work even more unstable in these times.

Purchasing power of Latina women

Latina women influence the growth in purchasing power of Latinx people in general, which reached $1.5 trillion in 2018 and is projected to increase to $1.9 trillion by 2023. For those who want to produce and sell in American society , these data are extremely important.

  • Latinas are responsible for the growth in consumption in highly profitable sectors such as beauty, mobile devices (cell phones, tablets and notebooks), automobiles and investments.
  • Latinas often assume the financial management of the households, which puts them with great decision-making power over what is consumed by that family.
  • The average Latinx family is 3.26 members compared to 2.42 members of non-Latinx families, which makes Latina women even more influential in consumption decisions.
  • Compared to non-Latina white women, Latina women have the following decision-making power:
  • 44% of Latinas decide on ways to save and invest, compared to 36% of non-Latina women
  • 38% of Latinas choose the restaurants they frequent, compared to 28% of non-Latina women
  • 67% of Latinas choose the products and foods they buy at the supermarket, compared to 59% of non-Latina women
  • 66% choose where to buy their family’s clothes and shoes, compared to 61% of non-Latina women.

Source: Gfk Consumer Life (Roper Report US)

Latina women and politics in the US

It is estimated that there are 62.1 million Latinx people in the US, which is equivalent to 18.7% of the country’s total population and responsible for 51.1% of the population growth between 2010 and 2020.

With population growth, it is more than natural to turn our eyes to all US political issues, but especially representation in the country’s decision-making summits. And it is also necessary to understand the power of Latina women as voters.

  • As of 2019, 79.3% of Latinas living in the US are US citizens.
  • The number of Latinx voters will increase dramatically in the coming decades. One million Latin Americans will turn 18 every year for at least the next two decades.
  • 94% of Latinx people aged 18 and under were born in the United States.
  • 50% of eligible Latinas voted in the 2016 midterms election, compared to 45% of eligible Latino men.
  • Latina women are more likely than Latinos to vote for Democratic candidates — an apparent preference in several swing states in the 2020 presidential election.
  • Latinas are more likely to support candidates who raise the flag for equal pay, college accessibility, paid leave and reproductive rights.

Latina women are such a coveted demographic, there is no one more powerful than a Latina consumer, a Latina voter, a Latina businesswoman, or even a Latina politician, to support the causes they believe in.

A good example of this is the congresswoman from NY Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Of Puerto Rican descent, she was elected at age 28. She advocates, among other causes, the implementation of a universal health system, more labor rights, abolition of the government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and more access to public education.

The future of the USA is directly linked to the education, health and economic well-being of Latinas.

To learn more…

If you want to know more about the LatinX community, we have a series of articles that might interest you:

LATINX COMMUNITY: It is just the beginning!

LATINX POWER: Latinx and the US Real Estate market

LATINX IN BUSINESS: Latinx and Entrepreneurship in the US

LatinX Wealth: reserves, investments and retirement

Learn More

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