Much has been said about the growth and strength of the Latino population in the United States.

Now, a new study has come out with eye-opening figures. It’s a study from UCLA’s Center for Latino Health and Cultural Studies published last year. Taking into account publicly available data from major U.S. agencies, the report found that the total economic output (or GDP) of Latinos in the United States was $2.6 trillion in 2018.

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In other words, if Latinos living in the United States were an independent country, U.S. Latino GDP would be the fifth largest in the world. It would even be larger than the GDPs of countries like Italy, Brazil, or South Korea.

In California, these figures are more evident

What surprised the researchers most was the growth of Latino GDP in the United States. Our economic output grew 21% faster than that of India and 30% faster than that of China.

However, in California alone, Latino GDP in 2018 was nearly $707 billion. This is larger than the entire economic output of the state of Ohio.

But even more surprising is the participation rate of Salvadorans in the California economy.

An overlooked labor force?

The UCLA study indicates that, with a high labor force participation rate, Salvadorans contribute significantly to California’s economy.

Salvadorans — immigrants and those born in the United States — are noted for high labor force participation, far higher than other communities.

According to the UCLA study, 67.3% of Salvadoran immigrants participate in California’s labor force, versus 62.7% of non-Latinos. Descendants of Salvadoran immigrants also have high labor force participation, at 65.2% — lower than immigrants but higher than non-Latinos.

“Immigrants have a higher labor force participation rate than those born here,” Hayes Bautista, director of UCLA’s Center for Latino Culture and Health Studies, told CNN en Español. However, Bautista continued, both groups have “a higher rate than non-Latinos.”

The Latino GDP Paradox

Finally, the UCLA report found that while California’s population grew by 3%, the Latino population grew by 13%.

And with that comes contradictions.

The UCLA report also highlights that, despite being a large labor force, this migrant community has problems accessing health care and health insurance.

“Here we see a paradox in U.S. economic policy,” Bautista said. “Those who work the least enjoy health insurance.”

Even more paradoxical is that the report found that our community’s overall economic contribution is driven by rapid growth in human capital gains, a strong work ethic, and a positive health profile.

California Latinos also have lower age-adjusted mortality rates for all leading causes of death.

The age-adjusted mortality rate for California Latinos is 25% lower than non-Latino whites in the state for cancer and 30% lower for heart disease.

“We [are] a thriving community, a fairly developed community. We are a community that has really come to fulfill the American dream,” said Teresa Tejada, executive director of the Association of Salvadorans of Los Angeles (ASOSAL).