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Latino Youth, the treasure of the United States

July 23, 2021
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In the United States there are currently 42 million young people (15 to 24 years old), and they represent 13% of the total population of the country.

For the United Nations, a young person is a person who is between 15 and 24 years old; in the United States this same definition has been taken, but not in the Mexican case; in Mexico, young people are those aged from 12 to 29 years.

Be that as it may, young people are a powerful group whose main advantage is precisely their young age and enough energy to join working life, in existing companies or forming their own, or in endless projects thanks to new technologies. Without fear, it can be said that young people are the future of a country and young Latinos are the future of the United States.

In the United States there are currently 42 million young people (15 to 24 years old), and they represent 13% of the total population of the country. Just for reference, older adults, aged 60 and over represent 24% of the population, that is, they are almost twice as large as the young population.

Among both whites, African Americans, and Asians, only 1 in 10 are young, but among Latinos the proportion is 2 in 10.

Thus, of the total number of young people in the country, a quarter are of Latino origin. Just 5 years ago these young people represented less than a fifth of the total. This means that their numbers have been increasing, but not because of migration but because the number of Americans who have Latino roots has increased, that is, they are children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of Latino immigrants.

Among these young Latinos, 84% are born in the United States, only 3% are naturalized, 6% have Legal Permanent Residence and 7% do not have documents, but of the latter who lack documents, 6 out of 10 arrived in the United States. UU being under 16 years old, that is, they fall into the category of Dreamers.

To date, 6 out of 10 young people of Latino origin have a high school degree or more, and among them 24% have some degree in college and 10% some degree at the undergraduate level. That is, they have been prepared or are in the process.

At least half of young Latinos are already working in activities as varied as business administration, financial occupations, administrative support, agriculture, construction or transportation of people. Of those who work, at least a third continue studying, that is, they combine work life with education. Young Latinos are ending the stigma that has long accompanied the community and according to which, Latinos occupy only low-skilled, low-wage positions.

On the other hand, there are non-Hispanic whites, among whom aging is prevalent and increasing, currently about a third of whites are 60 years or older, while among Latinos only a tenth are that age.

The average age among whites is 43, among African Americans it is 37, among Asians it is 38, while among Latinos it is 31.

These data are a sample of why we affirm that the United States has great wealth and a great treasure in Latino youth. Because they are the ones who in the coming years will be fully incorporated into working life, many of them already work and pay taxes, benefiting the American economy, and in whom, without a doubt, much of the weight will fall to sustain the pension system, increasingly demanding of resources in the US. So, beyond the divisive discourses, which still prevail in some areas of the country, it is important to recognize that Latino youth contribute and will contribute even more so that the United States remains the most important economy in the world.

* Arcelia Serrano Vargas is an economist, with postgraduate studies in Regional Development. She is currently a researcher and analyst at Mexa Institute.


Source: Vargas, A. S. (2021, 16 July). OPINION: Latino Youth, America’s Treasure – Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times in Spanish. https://www.latimes.com/espanol/eeuu/articulo/2021-07-16/juventud-latina-el-tesoro-de-estados-unidos-demografia