‘Latinas are drivers of the U.S. economy’ even through pandemic losses, study finds


The polling, released by NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises in partnership with HOPE and Latino Victory Foundation, surveyed 800 Latinas and 800 non-Latinas on issues beyond COVID-19 as well. “Latinas’ power is not only economic; they also have the power to sway elections,” the groups said. Some 63% of Latina respondents 18 and older said they were registered to vote, and more than half, 56%, did so in the 2020 elections. 

“In a time when many elections are won by slim margins, the Latina vote can be decisive,” the report said.

Nielsen data from 2017 said Latinas have been by overwhelming numbers an entrepreneurial powerhouse: “Latina-majority owned businesses totaled nearly 1.5 million, representing 87% growth over the past five years, far outpacing the 39% growth by Hispanic male-majority owned firms and the 27% growth by total female majority-owned firms,” Nielsen said.

But research from LatinosUS earlier this year showed Latinas then faced significant losses amid the pandemic, with many losing work “partly due to being disproportionately employed in the leisure and hospitality industry.” This happened as familial responsibilities also increased for many, the report continued. “Overall, more than six in 10 Latinas report that their family responsibilities increased during the pandemic, while three-quarters of Latina mothers report such an increase.”

“However, 75 percent of Latinas say they still believe in the American Dream, with those born outside of the U.S. being more likely (82 percent) to believe in it than those born here in the U.S. (67 percent),” the UnidosUS report said.

In this latest survey, ”54% feel optimistic about the direction the country is going in,” while “66% feel empowered to be and do what they want with their lives.” The past four years in particular also saw blunt messages claiming that neither Latinos nor the Spanish language were welcome in the U.S. At one point, an anti-immigrant, “English only” group was invited to the White House to meet with an official.

But according to the new survey, 78% of Latina respondents called bilingualism “an advantage,” and 76% said it was “important to keep their culture and heritage alive.” Of respondents, 67% said that in fact, “having the perspective of two cultures gives them an edge.” 

“Our ability to overcome the barriers of racism and sexism, while starting businesses, working essential jobs and protecting our families is a demonstration of our determination and perseverance,” Torres said. “Latinas are overwhelmingly leading and calling for change to ensure their families and communities are surviving and thriving.”

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