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Latinos contributed at least $65.1 billion to the Phoenix-area economy, according to a new report measuring the gross domestic product of the region's fastest growing demographic group. That is higher than the entire economies of the states of Maine and North Dakota, the report found.

Latinos comprise 1.5 million, or 31% of the total Phoenix metro population. That makes the Phoenix metro area the 8th largest in the U.S. by Latino population. READ MORE AT AZCENTRAL

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Though the lack of Spanish fluency is common among second- and third-generation Latinos, it can often result in teasing by family and friends. The name-calling — labeling someone pocho, gringo or “too American to be Mexican,” for example — can often be passed off as cariño, or joking with endearment.

But it can manifest into shame, and sometimes that shame can stop a person from wanting to practice the language or pass it down to future generations. READ MORE AT THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

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Even though Latinos are the second-largest ethnic group in the U.S., they’re underrepresented across many industries, including finance, which can have long-term effects on the ability to grow wealth. Lack of access to capital markets makes it harder for Latinos to build meaningful wealth. It also means they’re underrepresented as shareholders of companies if they aren’t holding stocks and that they’re not lending a proportional voice to investing decisions. READ MORE AT CNBC

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Startups with a Latino founder received just 2.1% of the nation’s venture capital in 2021, according to LatinxVC, a nonprofit focused on increasing venture capital investment. Accelerators for Hispanic entrepreneurs can provide opportunities to connect with other business leaders, investors and industry experts. READ MORE AT TAMPA BAY TIMES

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Five years ago, Californians began to take notice of Edgar Torres, a boutique vintner in Paso Robles whose Spanish-inspired wines were already earning accolades.

But it was Torres’ backstory that really piqued people’s interest. At the age of 8, he emigrated from his native Michoacan to the United States with his younger sister and a family friend in the back of a Volkswagen bus. He grew up in Cambria and moved to Paso Robles in 2002, where he became a waiter at Villa Creek Restaurant, a local winemaker hangout where he developed his palate for wine. READ MORE AT THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

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For so many years when filling out forms that asked about race or ethnicity, AMA member Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD always checked the “other” box because she never wanted to make it seem as though one side of her heritage was more important than the other. Her father is German American and her mother is Mexican American. It took her several more years to understand what those boxes really meant. READ MORE AT THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

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Hispanic people differ widely in their genetic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Now researchers say more precise data collection could help identify distinct risk factors for disease in certain populations. Having a more accurate understanding of genetic ancestry can help identify risk factors for certain diseases — as appears to be the case with brain tumors. READ MORE AT AAMC

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Millennial age groups – born mid 1980s to early 2000s – now have more money at hand than they have ever controlled before. And they are spending it, says Olivia Johnson, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Consumer Sciences at the University of Houston College of Technology.

Tech gear, cars, travel, fashion, furniture, houses, home security, insurance – everything young consumers might want and would likely need – form a retail turf being fought over by companies seeking to occupy that market segment. READ MORE AT UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON

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In the abundant selection of fruits that supermarkets have at their disposal, pears are the secret weapon they use to capture their customers. They sell quickly, are available year-round, have more than ten varieties to suit all tastes, and have significant health benefits. Latino consumers buy them 34% more than the average U.S. shopper.

Latino pear consumers are young: seventy-six percent are Millennial and Gen X. These two groups of Latino consumers see pears as a healthy snack in their daily diet. READ MORE AT ABASTO

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Tips to make volunteering a New Year's resolution

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Volunteering is in fashion around the holidays but many abandon it at year's end. And while it completely upended my professional life, I will owe my future career as a doctor to being a volunteer. Not everyone will change their profession as I did, but the power of volunteering is very real.

Still, oftentimes, the greatest barrier to being a volunteer is incorporating an activity into daily routines. A few of my favorite tips follow:

  • Make volunteering a family activity and incorporate it as a monthly outing like a movie night.
  • Swap a weekly workout with a volunteer activity.
  • Take on small projects that can be done at your own pace from home, like assembling care packages for women's shelters or homeless shelters.
  • Pair things you love to do with ways to help others: if you love technology, teach iPhone 101 at a senior center READ MORE AT SUN CITY WEST INDEPENDENT
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SPRINGFIELD – Workers in Illinois who participate in the Secure Choice retirement savings program have set aside more than $90 million of their own money for their retirement, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said today.

The accomplishment signals a growing recognition that workers understand Social Security will not provide enough income after their working days are over and reflects data that shows workers are more likely to save for retirement if they can do so through workplace payroll deductions.

“While each person has their own American dream, each dream includes a retirement with dignity and confidence,” Frerichs said. “Secure Choice can help accomplish both.”

The Illinois General Assembly created Secure Choice in 2015 and declared employers must either offer a retirement savings program or participate in Secure Choice. In doing so, lawmakers assured employers they would not be responsible for investment decisions and barred them from contributing to a worker’s account. Lawmakers also assured workers that their accounts would travel with them if they changed employers.

Lawmakers also created a seven-member board to oversee the program; determined that investments would be managed by the private sector; and assigned implementation of the savings program to the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office. Based on recommendations from the board, and with consultations with lawmakers, the program launched in 2018.

Today, 109,000 workers, many of whom never thought they could save for retirement, have worked with 7,400 employers to set aside $91 million.

Enrollment was apportioned by employer size so as not to overwhelm employers. Wave one in 2018 included employers with 500 or more employees. Wave two in 2019 included employers with 100-499 employees and another wave that same year included employers with 25-99 employees. The deadline for wave four, employers with 16 or more employees, was Nov. 1, 2022. The deadline for wave five, employers with five or more employees, is Nov. 1, 2023. Eligible employers can register or report an exemption at www.ilsecurechoice.com any time before their applicable deadline.

Secure Choice is critical because 40 percent of Illinois’ private-sector workers do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan and 23 percent of retirees rely upon Social Security for 90 percent of their retirement income. The employer component is key because workers are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they can do so through payroll deductions, according to an AARP study.

The default option for program participants is to enroll in a target-date Roth IRA with a five percent contribution rate. Participants can choose to change their contribution level or fund option at any time. Accounts are owned by individual participants and are portable from job-to-job. Investments are held in a separate trust outside the Illinois Treasury.

“This is a program that’s easy to implement and anything I can do to help my employees both professionally and personally is a win-win.” said Keely Selko, Office Manager at the Dearborn in Chicago, an early Secure Choice participating employer.

About the Illinois Treasurer

As Illinois State Treasurer, Michael Frerichs (FRAIR'-iks) is the state’s Chief Investment and Banking Officer and actively manages approximately $52 billion. The portfolio includes $26 billion in state funds, $17 billion in retirement and college savings plans and $9 billion on behalf of local and state governments. Frerichs’ office protects consumers by safeguarding more than $3.5 billion in unclaimed property, encouraging savings plans for college or trade school, increasing financial education among all ages, assisting people with disabilities to save without losing government benefits, and removing barriers to a secure retirement. The Treasurer’s Office predates Illinois incorporation in 1818. Voters in 1848 chose to make it an elected office.

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10 industries that overlook Latinx talent

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Jobs in STEM and media employ the least amount of Hispanic and Latinx workers, according to Credito en USA, a Spanish language personal finance insights platform. The company analyzed the 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in order to identify the most underrepresented job titles for Hispanic and Latinx talent.

Biological scientists have the least amount of representation, as Hispanic and Latinx workers make up only 2.4% of the industry's workforce. Medical scientists, veterinarians and industrial engineers are also underrepresented fields, with Hispanic and Latinx workers making up just under 5% of the industries' overall workforce. READ MORE AT EBN

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The market for luxury brands is rapidly changing with a boom in the Hispanic consumer market, the fastest-growing demographic of households with incomes of $150k+, according to two new studies.

The rapidly rising affluence of Hispanics, their greater representation compared to other ethnicities in the top two quintiles, and the fact they are the fastest growing ethnicity bar none means they are an increasingly important demographic for brands to understand. READ MORE AT FORBES

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A new study finds Latina workers earn just over half what their white, male counterparts do. The study from the National Women's Law Center found that in 2021, Latinas working full time earned just 57 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

The study provides a breakdown by community of national origin. It finds that Spanish and Argentinian women earned the most on average at 82 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. Honduran women earned the least at just 44 cents on the dollar. READ MORE AT HOUSTON PUBLIC MEDIA

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Mental health resources in Spanish are increasing

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Latinos and Spanish speakers are getting better access to key mental health services thanks to several recent initiatives. A higher percentage of Latinos in the U.S. have reported symptoms of depression than their white non-Hispanic counterparts since the pandemic began, per the CDC.

Hispanics in the U.S. make up 19% of the population, but only 6% of licensed psychologists in the U.S. identify as Latino, according to the American Psychological Association. READ MORE AT AXIOS

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Hispanic enrollment at postsecondary institutions in the United States has seen an exponential increase over the last few decades, rising from 1.5 million in 2000 to a new high of 3.8 million in 2019 – partly reflecting the group’s rapid growth as a share of the overall U.S. population. 

The decline for Hispanics, and other racial and ethnic groups, in 2020 was driven by a drop in enrollment at two-year institutions. Hispanic enrollment at two-year colleges declined by about 230,000, or 15%, from 2019 to 2020. READ MORE AT PEW RESEARCH CENTER

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How Latinos have changed the American landscape

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An examination of Latinos' lives over a 20-year span found increasing diversity and major educational and economic gains, though some inequalities remain, according to a new report by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute. The big picture: The report, which compared U.S. Census data from 2000 and 2o20, paints a picture of just how much Latinos have changed the American landscape — and how it's changed them, too.

By the numbers: Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants still account for the largest share of U.S. Latinos (59%), but the share of people from South and Central America is quickly growing, owing largely to political and economic instability in those nations. READ MORE AT AXIOS

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The economic state of Latinos in the U.S.

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Latinos account for the fastest-growing portion of US GDP. So much so, that if we considered US Latinos as their own country, it would be third only to the GDP growth rate of China and India in the past decade.1 At a time of economic uncertainty with concerns about a possible recession growing, consumers are looking for additional support.

Latinos are conscious of their impact, choosing brands that value the environment and their employees, all of which makes them more influential than their income levels would suggest. READ MORE AT MCKINSEY.COM

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Despite making up nearly 19 percent of the population, Latinos continue to be underrepresented or misrepresented in Hollywood, news and book publishing, according to a new report released by the Government Accountability Office.  "Latinos are effectively excluded or sidelined from much of American media," says Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which requested the report. READ MORE AT NPR

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