Exponentially Yours

Lisa Garcia
Lisa Garcia
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Exponentially Yours

Hispanic Heritage Month has been celebrated since 1988 when President Ronald Reagan enacted it into law. The month-long celebration from September 15 – October 15 marks the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries — Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and my own family homeland of El Salvador.

In this, the 199th Anniversary of Independence of these five Latin American countries, I’m proud to see the contributions that all Hispanics/Latinx people are making in the United States and the impact and influence we have on the economy, important industries, and in politics.

Latinos are among the most civically engaged citizens when it comes to registering to vote, casting a ballot, and running for office:

  • Latinos show record gains In Congress and continue to reshape the nation’s political landscape at all levels of office and in both political parties.
  • This year, Latinos are expected for the first time to be the nation’s largest ethnic minority in a U.S. presidential election with 32 million projected to be eligible to vote.
  • In Florida, two in three Latino voters are eligible to vote (3.1 million).
  • Florida’s 26th district, comprising Monroe County as well as a portion of southwest Miami-Dade County, is among the top five congressional districts in the country with the highest number of Latino-eligible voters.
  • Florida’s growth has been fueled largely by its Hispanic population, which is responsible for half of the state’s growth between 2010-2017.
  • Hispanics yield considerable electoral power. They make up 12.5 percent of eligible voters and in some states, they make up an even more significant share of the electorate. And the voter turnout rate is high among registered Latino voters.

And they make powerful contributions to our economy:

  • Hispanic Americans are more likely to be entrepreneurs. In 2017, almost 12 percent worked for their own business.
  • Data shows that Hispanic Americans earned more than $1 trillion and paid more than $250 billion in taxes in 2017 alone.
  • Latinos fill critical workforce gaps in labor-short industries such as agriculture, construction, and healthcare. And Latinos make up the largest proportion of home health aides, who strive every day to improve the lives of seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Since 1990, the percent of Latinos who have earned a bachelor’s degree has almost doubled, and an increasing number are earning professional degrees and taking leadership roles in different fields.

According to the 2019 U.S. Latino GDP, if the U.S. Latino gross domestic product (GDP) were its own country, it would rank as the eighth largest GDP in the world — not too shabby! There’s a lot to celebrate and be proud of but the truth is we’ve still got a lot of work to do to fix the problems our communities face. We need to come up with successful strategies to build meaningful relationships and work with our neighbors to break down barriers and leverage our differences to motivate all of us to be the best human beings we can be. One last thought to all my brothers and sisters no matter your race, gender, or ethnicity, wear a mask and vote!

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