Latinos play an important role in shaping the U.S. economy. As one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the country, Latinos have very high labor participation rates, and the number of Latinos who own homes has been steadily increasing for years. Latino-owned employer businesses continue to outpace white-owned employer businesses and U.S. businesses in general in terms of revenue growth, with the nearly 5 million Latino-owned businesses contributing over $800 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Moreover, by some estimates, Latino wealth has grown by an average of about 7% annually for the past 20 years. Yet the financial well-being of many Latino families does not reflect many of these economic contributions, and the underlying causes of the wealth gap between Latino and white families are often misunderstood or understudied.
On Tuesday, October 24, Brookings Metro hosted an event in partnership with the Latino Policy Forum examining the Latino wealth gap and how to close it. The event highlighted the findings from a new report (co-authored with the Latino Policy Forum) that studies Latino wealth, assets, and debt in six states (Illinois, California, Texas, New York, Florida, and North Carolina). The event also featured remarks from Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), as well as a panel of experts for a discussion on why regional diversity matters for understanding Latino wealth and how to close the wealth gap through asset building, eliminating debt, transferring intergenerational wealth, accessing financial networks, and other factors that lead to achieving income and job stability.
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