LOS ANGELES TIMES: July 16, 2021
By: Arcelia Serrano
For the United Nations Organization, youth 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 between the ages of 12 and 29.
Be that as it may, young people are a powerful group whose main advantage is precisely their young age and enough energy to join the working life, in companies existing ones or forming their own, or in an endless number of projects thanks to the new technologies. Without any fear, it can be said that young people are the future of the country and young Latinos are the future of the United States.
In the United States, there are currently 42 million young people (between 15 and 24 years old), and they represent 13% of the total population of the country. Just for reference, adults aged 60 and over represent 24% of the population, that is, they are almost double the young population. Both in the white population, as well as among Afro-Americans and Asians, only 1 in 10 are young, but among Latinos, the proportion is 2 out of 10.
Thus, of the total number of young people in the country, a quarter is of Latino origin. Just 5 years ago these young people represented less than a fifth of the total. This means that their number has 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 do not have documents, 6 out of 10 arrived in the US. In the US being under 16 years of age, that is, they fall into the category of Dreamers.
To date, 6 out of 10 young people of Latino origin have completed High School or more, and among them, 24% have a college degree and 10% have a bachelor’s degree. That is, they have been prepared or are in the process.
At least half of Latino youth are already working in activities as varied as business administration, financial occupations, administrative support, and even agriculture, construction, or transportation of people. And of those who work, at least a third continue studying, that is, they combine working life with education. Latino youth are ending the stigma that has accompanied the community for so long and according to which Latinos occupy only low-skilled and low-paying positions.
On the other hand, there are non-Hispanic whites, among whom the prevalence and increased aging, currently close to a third of whites are 60 or older, while among Latinos only a tenth are that age. The average age among whites is 43 years, among African Americans, it is 37 years, among Asians it is 38, while among Latinos it is 31 years.
These data are a sample of why we affirm that the United States has a 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 work and pay taxes, benefiting the American economy, and on whom, without a doubt, much of the weight will fall to sustain the pension system, increasingly demanding 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 continues to be the economy most important in the world.