Hispanic and Latinx residents in the workforce

It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month. Nearly half a million people in the region identify as Hispanic or Latinx (474,660). That’s about one out of 10 residents.

This year we’re exploring data about workers with this ancestry.

Since education has a big impact on career choice, let’s start there. A quarter of the region’s Hispanic and Latinx adults (24%) have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with nearly half of white adults (44%).

Note that Hispanic or Latinx identity is separate from race, so it’s possible to be a member of any racial group and also be Hispanic or Latinx.

Lower quality educational opportunities tend to push many Hispanic or Latinx residents into professions that pay less.

More than twice as many Hispanic or Latinx households live in poverty as white households, with 14% of Hispanic or Latinx households living in poverty compared to 7% of white households.

Hispanic or Latinx workers are more likely to be in lower-paying job sectors such as Service or Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance.

Since jobs in construction, service or other occupations often can’t be performed from home, Hispanic or Latinx workers have a greater chance of being exposed to COVID than white workers. Yet they’re less likely to have health insurance— Hispanic or Latinx residents are four times more likely (16%) than whites (4%) to lack coverage.

Finally, we let’s look at data about the commuting habits of Hispanic or Latinx workers.

Hispanic or Latinx workers are more likely to carpool to work than others, possibly because they tend to have fewer cars per worker and larger household sizes.

They also don’t take transit as much as other people of color. More investigation is needed to understand why. It might be that they don’t have as much access to transit or that their work schedules don’t align with peak transit hours.

Almost half of all Hispanic or Latinx households live in areas of lower opportunity. Many of these areas have limited access to high quality schools. This lays the groundwork for pathways to the disparities highlighted above, limiting opportunities for higher education and funneling disproportionately more Hispanic or Latinx residents into lower paying professions.

For more information, see our Opportunity Mapping page.