Report Today on Latino Economic Well-Being in California

Mike Madrid
Partner at GrassrootsLab, and a nationally recognized expert on Latino voting trends. In 2001, named one of America's "Most Influential Hispanics" by Hispanic Business Magazine.

The California Latino Economic Institute (CLEI), the leading organization serving as a catalyst to grow the Latino middle class in California, today released The State of Latino Economic Well-Being in California.

Latinos are the largest racial or ethnic group in California. However, on almost every measure examined in the study, Latino outcomes are below those of the general population, and far below those of white, non-Latinos and Asian Americans.

“In order to build and maintain a healthy economy in California it is evident that the focus in the State needs to be on building a robust Latino middle class,” said Juan Novello, CLEI’s Chief Operating Officer. “But not enough is being done to alleviate the structural and institutional barriers that prevent Latinos from fully participating in the California’s economy.”

The study emphasizes the significant structural challenges Latinos face in housing, educational attainment, employment, and entrepreneurship. The report introduced the new Latino Economic Index (LEI), which provides a visual economic snapshot that will assist policy makers, advocates and other key Latino leaders in identifying communities with high levels of economic vulnerability in need of direct investment, and possibly to learn lessons from areas with greater economic strengths. The report specifically notes the following: nearly 60% of Latino households lack adequate housing; 13% of Latinos have a 4-year college degree or higher; and Latino-owned business make up nearly one-quarter of all firms in California.

“The economic power of Latinos is evident,” said Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio (D-Baldwin Park). “And until we implement strategies and policies that can promote the economic growth of Latinos, we will be unable to fully tap into this economic influence and build towards California’s future.”

The study was conducted by Dr. Mindy S. Romero, founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project, based at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. Visit www.californialei.org to access the full report.

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