Latinos Vital To Chicago’s Economy

A new report found that Chicago’s local Latino population is a vital contributor to the local economy.

The report, “The State of Latino Chicago 201: The New Equation”, by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies concluded that Latinos contribute almost $1.2 billion more in tax revenues than they cost in the delivery of public services.

“In economically trying times, with many looking for a scapegoat for our region’s fiscal woes, the Institute for Latino Studies once and for all refutes the notion that Latinos are socio-economic drains,” said Sylvia Puente, Executive Director of the Chicago-based Latino Policy Forum.

The Chicago metro area’s total workforce will likely be 25% Latino by 2015, suggesting that the city’s future prosperity may very well depend on the success of Latinos, according to the report.

“Investing in Latinos offers a sound return on investment, helping shape our strong, shared future as a region,” said Puente.

The report examines the contribution of Latinos to the Chicago-area economy through their labor participation, business ownership, and impact of their spending power. It is based on the latest U.S. Census data, coupled with local, state, and federal reports.

Other findings included in the report:

  • Latinos own more than 56,000 businesses, about 6.5% of all businesses in the Chicago metropolitan area.
  • Latinos make up 22% of the region’s population.
  • Latinos have 64% of Caucasians’ median household income.
  • The recession hit Latinos particularly hard, with unemployment in 2008 at 7.2%, rising to 12.1% in 2009.

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