New report shows thriving GDP among Hispanics in Phoenix metro area

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A new report funded by the Bank of America shows the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Hispanics is over $65 billion, higher than the GDP of two states: Maine and North Dakota. Here to discuss the report is Matthew Fienup, co-author of the report and executive director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University.

Tell us about the process leading to the report.

For the past five years, the Center has released annual Hispanic GDP reports. According to Fienup, the reports estimate direct contribution of Latinos living in the United States. For instance, in 2018, the Hispanic GDP was estimated at $2.6 trillion.

“To give you a sense of how big that is, if Latinos living in the United States in 2018 were their own country, it would have been the eighth largest GDP in the world, larger than entire countries like Italy,” Fienup said.

The most recent data comes from 2020, where Latino GDP jumped three spots, surpassing France, India and the United Kingdom, according to Fienup.

 “The performance of Latinos during the pandemic were holding up the U.S. economy,” Fienup said. “Latinos are drivers of economic growth in the United States, and they’re just a tremendous source of resilience that benefits all Americans.”

What areas of Arizona did you focus on for this research?

The report aimed to calculate the GDP of Latinos in the “Mesa-Phoenix-Scottsdale area,” Fienup said, which came out to be $65.1 billion. He also noted that Latinos are contributing in every business area.

 “The Latino segment of the Phoenix metro economy is more diverse than the broader economy, and so they’re providing a broad foundation of support,” Fienup said.

According to the report, the five biggest Latino business sectors are:

  • Finance and real estate
  • Professional and business services
  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Government services

Why choose GDP as the metric?

GDP is a more standardized metric, said Fienup.

“This is how we compare the size of economies, whether it’s states, countries, and GDP growth is one of the single most important summary statistics because GDP growth produces things like rising wages, higher standards of living, greater economic mobility.”

Matthew Fienup, Executive Director at the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting.

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