US Hispanic and Latino Lives and Livelihoods in the Recovery From COVID-19

Ingrid Millán, Nick Noel, Lucy Pérez and Alfonso Pulido
Date of Publication: 
September, 2020
Source Organization: 

That the COVID-19 crisis shines a spotlight on socioeconomic inequities in the United States is not news. In particular, the 60 million Hispanics and Latinos in the country have experienced a disproportionate share of the health and economic effects of the pandemic. They are about three times more likely than white residents to test positive for the virus, experience more challenges with accessing care, and are more economically vulnerable. As 18.7 percent of the US population, Hispanics and Latinos are a disproportionately young group of voters, workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers—and a group projected to grow from 17 to 22 percent of the workforce by 2030. The population’s size and composition make it crucial to the US economy and society, and its vulnerability threatens the country’s overall recovery from the pandemic.

Economically, the five business sectors most affected by the pandemic generate almost 50 percent of the revenues of Hispanic- and Latino-owned businesses, and 65 percent of Hispanics and Latinos work in those sectors. Indeed, the group is overrepresented in nine of the ten lowest-wage jobs that are considered high contact and essential, including food preparation and certain healthcare jobs. In brief, the population’s health and finances are at an outsize risk during the pandemic, and before the pandemic there was already a wealth gap of $1.3 trillion to $1.6 trillion (in 2018 dollars) between it and white Americans. US Hispanics and Latinos with additional disadvantaged identities—particularly Hispanic and Latina women, Afro-Latinos, and undocumented workers—bear an even heavier load.

Investing in inclusive growth—crucial for the future growth of the United States—means removing obstacles that affect Hispanics and Latinos disproportionately and fostering more equitable public-health and economic outcomes, which can benefit everyone in the country. In this article, we outline some of the central insights and possible interventions from our report on COVID-19 and Hispanic and Latino Americans.

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Millán, I., Noel, N., Pérez, L., & Pulido, A.  (2020, September 20). US Hispanic and Latino lives and livelihoods in the recovery from COVID-19. McKinsey & Company.