Latinos across the United States have taken a tremendous hit from the coronavirus pandemic in terms of jobs, salaries and health, yet the community remains resilient, entrepreneurial and optimistic, according to a report released Friday by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, a nonprofit organization.
NAHREP notes in its fifth annual State of Hispanic Wealth Report that the recovery and continued economic growth of Latino households, workers and businesses are inseparable from the country’s long-term growth and stability.
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In 2014, the Hispanic Wealth Project (HWP) set the goal to triple median household wealth by 2024. To guide that goal, it created a blueprint outlining three primary areas of focus, along with a series of targeted component goals: building wealth through increasing homeownership and small business ownership, and growing savings and investments.
Here’s a progress report, from 2013 to a midpoint based on more recent data to 2024:
- Homeownership rate - 2013: 46.1%; 2019: 47.5%; 2024 goal: 50%
- Hispanic employer firms – 2013: 298,563; 2018: 322,076; 2024 goal: 400,000+
- Retirement account participation – 2013: 25.1%; 2016: 29.7%; 2024 goal: 37%+
- Total median household wealth – 2013: $13,700; 2016: $20,600; 2024 goal: $41,100
Key Survey Findings
The HWP survey was conducted online in mid-August 2020 among 2,200 households, with an oversampling of 1,000 additional Latino households. In addition to the survey, the assessments on Latino wealth as of mid-2020 were based primarily on findings from the American Community Survey, Household Pulse Survey, Annual Business Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative surveys.
Even amidst the pandemic, a boom is happening among first-time homebuyers and millennials, according to the survey. The highest loan application activity among those two groups over the last year has occurred in census tracts with majority Latino populations.
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Latinos were 25% likelier than their non-Hispanic white counterparts to own an investment property outside their primary residence; this despite a 16 percentage-point homeownership gap between the two groups.
Two in five Latino renters said they expected to buy a home in the next five years, compared with one in three non-Hispanic renters.
The HWP reported that Latino employer businesses grew twice as fast as the general population. As of 2018, a quarter of new entrepreneurs was Latino.
Latinos were more than twice as likely as their non-Hispanic white counterparts to invest in a business when they had extra cash, according to the survey. Thirteen percent of households that do not already own a business planned to start one in the next five years.
Latinas — that is, women — are driving this trend, growing faster than any other demographic, the survey results showed. Latina-owned businesses with employees grew twice as fast as employer businesses owned by non-Latinas, and have increased the number of employees by 41.3% since 2012.
Savings and Investments
Survey respondents’ participation in retirement accounts showed signs of increasing, with 46% of survey respondents reporting that at least one member of their household owned a retirement account.
Retirement account ownership tended to increase among respondents who owned a home, and had a college degree and higher income.
The survey also found that lack of information more than a lack of funds was the top reason why Latinos avoided investing in stock-based investment products.
In contrast, the general population and non-Hispanic white population were likelier to report not being able to afford these products as the primary reason for not participating in them.
And Latinos were much more likely to invest in real estate or in businesses when given the option than the non-Hispanic white population.
Family, Education and the Future
Forty-four percent of Latinos who said they had extra money to invest, reported using it to help out a family member.
According to the survey, Latinos also were likelier than non-Hispanic whites to draw on savings to offset pandemic-related income losses.
The study indicated the strong correlation between education and household wealth. Latinos with a bachelor’s degree had 48 times the wealth as Latinos with a high school degree, and those with a post-graduate degree had 61 times the wealth as those with a high school degree.
Among survey respondents, Latinos were the most optimistic group about the future despite reaching the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, the study said, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics research.
Thirty-five percent of Latino households said they expected to be better off economically a year from now, compared with 23% of the non-Hispanic white population.
Older millennials and younger Gen X Latinos expressed the most optimism: 39% of Latino 35- to 44-year-olds said they expect to be better off in the next year.
However, the study insisted that the effects of the pandemic not be underestimated as these could slow Latino wealth growth if action is not taken. It recommended these actions:
- Investing in culturally relevant financial education
- Providing additional support for the growing number of Latino homeowners and business owners through the adverse economic conditions brought on by the pandemic
- Educating the financial industry about the expanded role family plays in Latino decision-making
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