Florida’s Latino community is a crucial source of economic power in a state that was ravaged by the 2008 housing market crash and subsequent recession. This is among the findings in our newest report, Latinos in the Sunshine State: Building a Brighter Economic Future. The report also shows that Latinos in Florida have the highest workforce participation rate of any group (63.9 percent compared to 60.6 percent overall). Latino men lead Florida in employment-to-population ratio among men of all other racial and ethnic groups in Florida at 68.2 percent, compared to White men at 55.3 percent and 61.3 percent for all Floridian men. The share of Latinas in Florida’s labor force increased from 53 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2014.
Additionally, the number of businesses owned by Latinos in Florida increased by 34 percent between 2007 and 2012. Latino purchasing power in Florida increased by 980 percent between 1990 and 2012, as well.
With nearly five million Latinos living in Florida, the third-largest Hispanic population in the country, Florida is poised to represent much of the community’s expected growth in the next 15–20 years. This makes the state a prime setting for a case study to determine the best course of action other states can take in the coming demographic shift of the United States.
One in six Americans today is of Latino descent and the Latino community in the United States is the youngest of all ethnic groups, leading to projections of large overall growth through the next four decades. Florida is expected to become one of the first majority-minority states in the country—meaning ethnic minorities will account for most of the state’s population—a trend that the nation as a whole will follow later.
Despite all the evidence illustrating the enormous economic and civic growth of Latinos in Florida, the state continues to severely underinvest in programs and industries that both benefit Latinos, and in which their work can benefit the state.
Florida can become an economic leader among the states if it recognizes the robust economic output of its Latino population and works to strengthen the institutions and programs that allow for Latino prosperity to flourish. Should it do that, the Floridian economy could reach new heights.
Read the full report on our website.