Latina-owned businesses in California have doubled in recent years, proving once again that Latinas are entrepreneurial and a key economic engine for the state. Latina-owned small businesses generated over $19 billion in revenues and employed over 86,000 individuals in California in 2016.
Latinos make up a plurality of California’s population.Yet studies show there is a large disparity between the economic well-being of California Latinos and that of the overall state population. Latinos in the state are underrepresented among upper-income groups and are overrepresented in lower-income groups—including those living in poverty. Given Latinos’ growing demographic presence in the state—38.5% of the state’s population—a strong Latino middle class is essential to the future economic vitality of the state as a whole. While many studies have examined the often poor economic outcomes faced by a large segment of California Latinos, far less attention has been devoted to the economic well-being of the state’s Latino middle class. The expansion of the Latino middle class is crucial to ensuring the greater well-being of California’s Latino community, as well as that of the California economy. To support the expansion of the Latino middle class, it is important to first understand the economic barriers and opportunities that Latinos currently face.