Latino population powerhouse: 2020 Census data reveals huge diversity growth

2020 Census data reveals that Latinos account for over half of the country’s population growth in the past decade. 

Latinos are a powerhouse population that are only growing to new heights. In both business and population, recent data shows that Latinos and Hispanics are an integral and vital force with the power to make great shifts in the U.S. economy and political landscape. 

Photo by Roberto Vivancos from Pexels

Earlier this year, the 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Business in collaboration with the Latino Business Action Network revealed that the number of Latino-owned businesses has grown 34% over the last 10 years compared to just 1% for all other small businesses. Were it not for the growth in the number of Latino-owned firms, the total number of small businesses in the U.S. would actually have declined between 2007 and 2012.

Now, the results of the 2020 Census data reveal similar growth among the U.S. Hispanic population. The overall U.S. population grew by 7.4% over the last decade to reach 331 million. The rate of growth was the slowest since the 1930s. However, just over half of that total growth was due to increases in the U.S. Hispanic population. 

Latinos are a powerhouse population

According to the census data, the Hispanic population reached 62.1 million, or 18.7% of the total population in 2020, compared to 16.4% in 2010 and 12.6% in 2000. In contrast, the U.S. white population alone is shrinking, while people identifying as white in combination with another race has grown by 316 percent. 

Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

These changes in population revealed by the 2020 Census will have a great impact on the country’s political landscape. The result of the census will be used to draw new voting districts for next year’s midterm elections. With a growing diverse population, we undoubtedly will begin to see changes in the coming elections as diverse communities will be likely to elect diverse leaders. 

In California, the Hispanic population became the largest in the state in 2020. Currently, more than 39% of Californians identify as Hispanic or Latino, compared to the state’s white population which only amounted to 35% according to the 2020 Census data. 

Census data also revealed a drop in the number of Hispanics who identify as white. In 2010, 26.7 million identified as white, while now only 12.6 million identify as such. 

2020 Census, Latino population

Percentage Distribution of the Hispanic of Latino Population: 2010 and 2020. (Graphic source)

In an article with NBC News, Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said, “Today’s data release from the 2020 Census demonstrates that the Latino community is a huge and increasing part of our nation’s future.”

These numbers will help shape the nation in the years to come. Not only will the census data help redraw voting districts, but these numbers will also be used to divide federal funding to community programs, determine divisions for city council and other boards such as school districts. 

Clarissa Martinez de Castro, vice president of UnidosUS, the country’s largest Latino advocacy group, said that the increase in diversity is the source of the nation’s strength. However, she notes that, “Despite our contributions to the country, the realities of our lives aren’t always recognized and worse, in too many cases, we are actively demonized.” 

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The new data is a reminder of the power the Latino and Hispanic population hold. As the largest growing population, Latinos can no longer be ignored. 

Why more minority founders aren’t backed by venture capital funding

Funding for any new business venture is a critical step that will often determine its ultimate success. Many businesses sink far too early in the process when founders are unable to secure access to capital. Unfortunately, women and minority business owners are more likely to be denied venture capital funding and bank loans compared to white, male founders.  

Why aren’t more minority founders backed by venture capital funding? (Business card photo created by –

According to an article by Forbes, in the past year, only 2.6% of venture dollars went to minorities and 2.2% went to women. In total, that is only $4.2 billion out of the $87.3 billion venture capital was distributed. Additionally, as of January 2021, only 93 Black and 58 Latinx women have ever raised over $1M.

This lack of VC funding for women- and minority-owned businesses is part of an ongoing cycle and diversity issue within the entire venture capital process. The fact of the matter is, diverse venture capitalists (VCs) and limited partners (LPs) will be more likely to invest in diverse founders and entrepreneurs. But so far, these roles have been saturated predominantly by white, male individuals. 

Breaking old patterns 

In an article by Fast Company, Leah Solivan discusses her experiences in securing venture capital funding for her startup and shares ideas on how the old pattern can be broken. In sharing her experience she describes how she first struggled to secure funding because she “didn’t match the pattern.” As a woman and a Latina, these modifiers made her an “other” in the eyes of traditional venture capitalists. She was not the typical founder. 

“VCs had an idea of what successful founders looked like, and they didn’t look like me,” Leah shared in her article. “It took another woman of color hearing my pitch to open up opportunities for me. And that woman, Ann Miura-Ko, was only in a position to say “yes” to me because another VC (Floodgate’s Mike Maples) took a chance on her. As a founder and CEO, I recruited a diverse team of talented individuals who brought different backgrounds and life experiences to the table. Many of these people have gone on to become founders themselves, building their own teams. Others have gone on to become venture capitalists. This is the virtuous cycle of wealth creation in action. And all it took to get it going was one VC deciding to take a chance on someone who didn’t match the pattern.”

This process that she describes is exactly how we can work to break old patterns within the venture capital process. We need diverse LPs who can then fund venture capital funds. And diverse VCs will then seek out and fund diverse founders. These founders can then give opportunities to their diverse team members and employees who can then grow to become their own founders or investors. 

Minority business owners and entrepreneurs, especially Latinos, have great potential to grow and thrive with the right backing. According to the Stanford Research 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report, Latinos are starting businesses at a faster rate than the national average across several industries, growing 34 percent over the last 10 years compared to just 1 percent for all other small businesses. Additionally, the report showed that over the past two-years, Latino-owned firms grew revenue at an average of 25 percent per year while white-owned businesses grew revenue at 19 percent.

Moreover, much of the growth in the number of new businesses among Latinos has been driven by women. Latinas represent 40% of all Latino business owners and the number of Latina-led employer firms has grown 20% within the last five-year period.

Forbes also reported that in the last year, 40% of new businesses were started by women and 47% of those businesses were started by minority women. 

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We need diverse venture capitalists to support diverse founders

“Capital remains in the communities that manage it,” says Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon, Managing Partner of Avante Capital. Earlier this year, Ivelisse spoke as a panelist during Latina in Business’ virtual panel, “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends. There she shared trends in investment capital and discussed why many women and minority owned businesses struggle to access capital. 

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon, Managing Partner of Avante Capital.

There’s about $70 trillion of capital to manage in the United States and only 1% of that capital is managed by women or people of color. So even though women and people of color represent 75% of the US population, we only manage 1% of the capital. And the result of that is that our communities don’t get access to that capital.” 

To break this cycle, we need diverse venture capitalists and limited partners. Ivelisse says that this is an issue Avante has been really committed to. “Not only supporting women and people of color managing businesses but really trying to get women and people of color into this industry to manage capital so that we can go out and find entrepreneurs from our communities and help them grow. Because if there are not many people in my seat that look like us, our people are never gonna get capital,” she says

Don’t miss our Summer Speakers Series and Networking Blast Events throughout August!  Interested in learning how to access business funding for your venture? Sign up for our August 11th workshop, “Resources to Increase Your Business Revenue.” 

While pushing for more diversity throughout the various positions in the venture capital funding process, we also need to hold venture capitalists accountable. It should not only be the job of diverse and minority venture capitalists to fund diverse founders and entrepreneurs. More venture capitalists need to be willing to take risks. After all, is that not the point of “venture” capitalists. 

As Leah Solivan nicely said, “Venture capital was once a business that took big bets on outsiders—it wasn’t long ago that the college drop-out computer nerd cliché was a novel, risky opportunity. As the industry has matured, we’ve defaulted to pattern matching (which too often means young, white males that resemble those once-novel success stories) instead of seeking out founders of different backgrounds, different geographies, different skill sets, and different demographics. Our current cycle tries to play it safe. There’s nothing virtuous about that, and it also runs contrary to the ethos of venture capital—which is about taking a chance on something or someone with the potential for disruption.” 

We need diversity in all stages of the venture capital process. We need to break-down old patterns and biases about what a founder looks like. And we need to hold traditional venture capitalists accountable and push them back to their roots, to take risks on something new, and take a chance on the underdog.

“In the Heights” colorism controversy and why accurate representation is important

Recently, the newly released film adaption of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical–In the Heights–has received some controversy regarding the film’s casting choices and lack of dark-skinned Afro-Latinx actors, with critics citing colorism as the root cause of the inaccurate representation of the historic NYC neighborhood.

In the Heights, colorism controversy

In the Heights faces blacklash regarding colorism controversy. (Image Source)

Set in the New York City neighborhood of Washington Heights, the film’s themes celebrate diversity and identity. However, audiences were quick to notice the lack of dark-skinned Latinos in lead roles. Instead, all of the main Latinx characters are portrayed by light-skinned or white-passing actors. Viewers took to social media to voice their feelings and bring attention to the longstanding issue of colorism in Hollywood. 

In the Heights follows the lives of various Latinx characters living in Washington Heights, weaving their stories together in a celebration of Latin pride and Latinx stories. However, the film adaptation notably lacks dark-skinned Afro-Latinx main characters, creating an inaccurate portrayal of the NYC neighborhood. Described as a “melting pot” by In the Heights actress Melissa Barrera, Washington Heights, the film fails to portray an accurate “mosaic of this community.” 

While the film maintains a high rating on critic site, Rotten Tomatoes, and has favored well with general audiences, the issue of colorism remains a valid criticism and an important conversation to be had. 

Commenting on the controversy, actress Melissa Barrera said that “the audition process, which was a long audition process, there were a lot of Afro-Latinos there. A lot of darker skinned people. And I think they were looking for just the right people for the roles. For the person that embodied each character in the fullest extent,” clarifying, “Because the cast ended up being us, and because Washington Heights is a melting pot of Black and Latinx people, Jon and Lin wanted the dancers and the big numbers to feel very truthful to what the community looks like.”

It is true that there were dark-skinned performers in the group numbers as background dancers, but this only further highlights the key issue: there were none in lead roles. To dark-skinned Afro-Latinx viewers this sends the message that their lives and their stories are not important. It tells them that they are only “background” characters in the lives of light-skinned and white people. The film’s only dark-skinned character is Benny, played by non-Latino actor Corey Hawkins. In the musical, Benny pursues a romance with Nina, though he is viewed as an outsider by Nina’s father because he is not Latino. Being the only dark-skinned character in the main cast, this sends another message to audiences, that dark-skinned people are “outsiders” or don’t belong in Latino communities, which could not be farther from the truth. 

In our current socio-political climate, where race issues are at the forefront, this significant lack of dark-skinned Afto-Latinx actors in a film about a historically diversey neighborhood cannot be ignored. Movements like Black Lives Matter have made it clear that there is still so much work to be done regarding the treatment of Black lives in our society. The lack of visibility of Black lives and Black stories in our media is just one of many symptoms of systemic racism. Just as systemic racism prevents Black individuals from accessing resources, education, and employment due to long standing biases ingrained in our culture, Hollywood, too, is affected. 

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As Melissa Barrera pointed out in her statement, the audition process included many Afro-Latinx actors auditioning for lead roles. However, not a single one made it to the big screen. Why? Some may say it was down to talent, but there are many, many talented dark-skinned actors in Hollywood, so one has to wonder why they were not given the same opportunity to star in the film as light-skinned and white Latinx actors. 

In the Heights creator and American actor, singer, songwriter, rapper, producer, and playwright, Lin Manuel Miranda. (Image Source)

In a Twitter statement addressing the colorism controversy, Lin Manuel Miranda expressed his deep apology for the lack of dark-skinned Afro-Latinx representation in the film. 

“I started writing In the Heights because I didn’t feel seen,” he says. “And over the past 20 years all I wanted was for us — ALL of us — to feel seen. I’m seeing the discussion around Afro-Latino representation in our film this weekend, and it is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community don’t feel sufficiently represented within it, particularly among the leading roles. I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, of feeling unseen in the feedback. I hear that, without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the world feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy.”

“In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I’m truly sorry. I’m learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I’m listening. I’m trying to hold space for both the incredible pride in the movie we made and be accountable for our shortcomings. Thank you for your honest feedback. I promise to do better in my future projects, and I’m dedicated to the learning and evolving we all have to do to make sure we are honoring our diverse and vibrant community.”

How most and least diverse cities in the US affect minority-owned businesses

A study conducted by WalletHub found out that minority-owned businesses thrive in ethnically diverse cities. Population trends predict that by 2044 minority populations will rise to 56 percent so that no single ethnic group will constitute as the majority in the country. This is a relevant and important trend given the current political climate and immigration issues.

Exhibitors at the 2014 First Health and Wellness Fair. minority-owned businesses

Exhibitors at the 2014 SHCCNJ First Health and Wellness Fair

Diversity fosters growth and enriches our environments– from exposure to different cultures and languages to economic benefits for businesses. A study conducted by WalletHub compared 500 U.S. cities across three key metrics, including ethnoracial diversity, linguistic diversity and birthplace diversity.

minority-owned businesses

Jill Gonzalez WalletHub Analyst

The study found that the most culturally diverse city in the US is Jersey City, New Jersey, while Oakland, California has the highest ethnic and racial diversity– four times higher than Hialeah, Florida, the city with the lowest. Furthermore, Hialeah, Florida has the highest concentration of Latinos and Hispanics at 96.26 percent.

Ethnically diverse cities help diverse businesses thrive. One of the main benefits of living in an ethnically diverse city is innovation. An innovative environment fosters growth and allows for creation of businesses and job opportunities. 

“Diverse cities tend to be economically strong,” said WalletHub Analyst, Jill Gonzalez. “Small businesses can thrive in diverse cities, as these are melting pots of innovative ideas that help these businesses to improve, develop new technologies and hire skilled workers.”

Gonzalez also added that minority-owned businesses can find support at the state and federal level. “Most of the states implement their own programs that promote or help diverse business,” she said. “At the federal level, the Minority Business Development Agency works to create policies and programs that result in the growth of minority-owned businesses by facilitating services that provide access to financing and contracts.”

minority-owned businesses

Mary Kay consultants at the 2017 Latina SmallBiz Expo

The main challenge of living in an ethnically diverse city, according to Gonzalez, is creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive environment. With various different ethnic and racial groups, conflicts may arise and newer groups might feel excluded by the existing local community. Established groups may also feel threatened by the economic and social impact of newer groups. Communities can minimize these challenges by focusing on inclusion, tolerance, and teamwork.

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Overall, “the benefits far outweigh the challenges,” Gonzalez said. Diverse cities are full of potential and opportunities, especially for minority-owned businesses. Innovation and inclusion are the two keys to a successful, diverse environment.


The new face of the United States is younger and darker

Multiracial ethnic group of people

SOURCE  U.S. Census Bureau

Millennials, or America’s youth born between 1982 and 2000, now number 83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population. Their size exceeds that of the 75.4 million baby boomers, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today. Overall, millennials are more diverse than the generations that preceded them, with 44.2 percent being part of a minority race or ethnic group (that is, a group other than non-Hispanic, single-race white).

These latest population estimates examine changes among groups by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin nationally, as well as in all states and counties, between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2014.

Reflecting these younger age groups, the population as a whole has become more racially and ethnically diverse in just the last decade, with the percentage minority climbing from 32.9 percent in 2004 to 37.9 percent in 2014.

Five states or equivalents were majority-minority: Hawaii (77.0 percent), the District of Columbia (64.2 percent), California (61.5 percent), New Mexico (61.1 percent) and Texas (56.5 percent). Among the remaining states, Nevada is the closest to crossing this threshold, with a population 48.5 percent minority. More than 11 percent (364) of the nation’s 3,142 counties were majority-minority in 2014. Five reached this milestone during the year beginning July 1, 2013: Russell, Ala.; Newton, Ga.; Eddy, N.M.; Brazoria, Texas; and Suffolk city, Va.

Other highlights from the estimates:

The 65-and-older population


  • The nation’s 65-and-older population grew from 44.7 million in 2013 to 46.2 million in 2014. This group, which now contains the oldest four years of the baby boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964), is 21.7 percent minority, less diverse than younger age groups.
  • Between 2010 and 2014, the only two counties to add more than 100,000 people 65 and older to their total populations were Los Angeles, Calif. (167,000) and Maricopa, Ariz. (103,000).
  • San Juan, Colo., had the highest rate of increase in the 65-and-older population of any county between 2010 and 2014 (70.9 percent). Two other Colorado counties (San Miguel and Douglas) were also in the top five.
  • Florida had the highest percentage of its population age 65 and older among states in 2014 (19.1 percent), followed by Maine (18.3 percent). Alaska had the lowest percentage (9.4 percent), followed by Utah (10.0 percent).
  • Sumter, Fla., was the nation’s only majority 65-and-older population county in 2014 (52.9 percent). Chattahoochee, Ga., had the lowest percentage of its population in this age group (4.1 percent).

Some states and counties become younger

  • In contrast to most states, five experienced a decline in median age between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014: North Dakota, Hawaii, Montana, Wyoming and Iowa.
  • Median age declined in 434 counties over the period, with McKenzie, N.D., leading the way (32.9 to 31.6).
  • Maine experienced the largest increase in median age among states, rising from 43.9 to 44.2 over the period.
  • St. Helena, La., experienced the largest rise in median age among counties or equivalents, climbing from 40.2 to 41.3.
  • There was a greater than 13-year difference between the state with the highest median age (Maine at 44.2) and that with the lowest (Utah at 30.5).
  • There was a more than 42-year difference between the county with the highest median age (Sumter, Fla., at 65.9) and that with the youngest (Madison, Idaho, at 23.1). There were 74 counties where the median age was greater than 50, and 57 counties where it was less than 30.

States with more males than females (and vice versa)

  • There were only 10 states where males made up a majority of the population in 2014. Alaska had the highest male percentage (52.6 percent), followed by North Dakota (51.3 percent).
  • The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of females of any state or equivalent (52.6 percent), followed by Delaware (51.6 percent).

Births versus deaths

  • All race and ethnic groups except single-race, non-Hispanic whites had more births than deaths between 2013 and 2014. This group had 61,841 more deaths than births.

HispanicsHispanic children graduate from college

  • The nation’s Hispanic population totaled 55.4 million as of July 1, 2014, up by 1.2 million, or 2.1 percent, since July 1, 2013.
  • California had the largest Hispanic population of any state in 2014 (15.0 million). However, Texas had the largest numeric increase within the Hispanic population since July 1, 2013 (228,000). New Mexico had the highest percentage of Hispanics at 47.7 percent.
  • Los Angeles had the largest Hispanic population of any county (4.9 million) in 2014 while Harris, Texas, had the largest numeric increase since 2013 (45,000). Starr — on the Mexican border in Texas — had the highest share of Hispanics (95.8 percent).


  • The nation’s black or African-American population totaled 45.7 million as of July 1, 2014, up by 578,000, or 1.3 percent, since July 1, 2013.
  • New York had the largest black or African-American population of any state or equivalent in 2014 (3.8 million); Texas had the largest numeric increase since July 1, 2013 (88,000). The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of blacks (50.6 percent), followed by Mississippi (38.2 percent).
  • Cook County, Ill. (Chicago) had the largest black or African-American population of any county in 2014 (1.3 million), and Harris, Texas, had the largest numeric increase since 2013 (21,000). Holmes, Miss., was the county with the highest percentage of blacks or African-Americans in the nation (82.5 percent).


  • The nation’s Asian population totaled 20.3 million as of July 1, 2014, up by 631,000, or 3.2 percent, since July 1, 2013.
  • California had both the largest Asian population of any state (6.3 million) in July 2014 and the largest numeric increase of Asians since July 1, 2013 (162,000). Hawaii was the nation’s only majority-Asian state, with people of this group comprising 56.2 percent of the total population.
  • Los Angeles had the largest Asian population of any county (1.7 million) in 2014 and the largest numeric increase (29,000) since 2013. Honolulu and Kauai, both in Hawaii, were the nation’s only majority-Asian counties. diverse group of business personnel

American Indians and Alaska Natives

  • The nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native population totaled 6.5 million as of July 1, 2014, up by 93,000, or 1.4 percent, since July 1, 2013.
  • California had the largest American Indian and Alaska Native population of any state in 2014 (1.1 million) and the largest numeric increase since 2013 (13,000). Alaska had the highest percentage (19.4 percent).
  • Los Angeles had the largest American Indian and Alaska Native population of any county in 2014 (235,000), and Maricopa, Ariz., the largest numeric increase (4,700) since 2013. Shannon, S.D. — on the Nebraska border and located entirely within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation — had the highest percentage (93.4 percent).

Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders

  • The nation’s Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population totaled 1.5 million as of July 1, 2014, up by 33,000, or 2.3 percent, since July 1, 2013.
  • Hawaii had the largest population of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders of any state (370,000) in 2014 and the highest percentage (26.0 percent). California had the largest numeric increase since 2013 (7,000).
  • Honolulu had the largest population of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders of any county (239,000) in 2014, and Hawaii County had the highest percentage (34.4 percent). Clark, Nev., had the largest numeric increase since 2013 (1,100).

Non-Hispanic white alone

  • The nation’s non-Hispanic white alone population totaled 197.9 million in 2014, up by 94,000, or 0.5 percent, since 2013.
  • California had the largest non-Hispanic white alone population of any state in 2014 (14.9 million). Texas had the largest numeric increase in this population group since 2013 (79,000). Maine had the highest percentage of the non-Hispanic white alone population (93.8 percent).
  • Los Angeles had the largest non-Hispanic white alone population of any county (2.7 million) in 2014. Maricopa, Ariz., had the largest numeric increase in this population since 2013 (23,000). Leslie, Ky., comprised the highest percentage (98.1 percent) of single-race non-Hispanic whites.

Unless otherwise specified, the statistics refer to the population who reported a race alone or in combination with one or more races. Censuses and surveys permit respondents to select more than one race; consequently, people may be one race or a combination of races. The detailed tables show statistics for the resident population by “race alone” and “race alone or in combination.” The sum of the populations for the five “race alone or in combination” groups adds to more than the total population because individuals may report more than one race. All references to age, race, and Hispanic origin characteristics of counties apply only to counties with a 2014 population of 10,000 or more. The federal government treats Hispanic origin and race as separate and distinct concepts. In surveys and censuses, separate questions are asked on Hispanic origin and race. The question on Hispanic origin asks respondents if they are of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.

Starting with the 2000 Census, the question on race asked respondents to report the race or races they consider themselves to be. Hispanics may be of any race. Responses of “some other race” from the 2010 Census are modified in these estimates. This results in differences between the population for specific race categories for the modified 2010 Census population versus those in the 2010 Census data.