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Policy Report Mobility & Opportunity

Latino Workers and Digitalization: An Analysis and Policy Roadmap to Building an Inclusive 21st Century Digital Economy

This report analyzes the impact of the digital divide on the lives of Latinos. Latinos are the future of the American workforce, yet findings show that barriers to access to education and digital technology have prevented Latinos from acquiring the skills needed in the 21st-century economy.


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Overview:

The American workforce is undergoing rapid changes due to the digitalization of jobs across the economy. Thousands of people are displaced from their jobs every year because of the automation of tasks by digital technology. The COVID-19 pandemic and the physical distancing protocols necessary to slow its spread are likely to accelerate the replacement of workers in automatable roles with digital technology.

This report analyzes occupational data from the six states with the largest Latino population – Arizona, California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and New York – to investigate the representation of Latino workers across industries with high rates of adoption of digital technology and industries with low digitalization. These six states host 39 million Latinos constituting 68.5 percent of the U.S. Latino population.

Main Findings:

  1. Over 7.1 million Latinos, representing almost 40% of the Latino workforce in those six states, are at high risk of being displaced by automation.
  2. Across these six states, Latino workers remain overrepresented in three of the four industries that have the lowest levels of digitalization –agriculture, leisure and hospitality, and construction–and in wholesale and retail trade, which has a mid-level degree of adoption of digital technologies. Workers in these 4 industries have the highest risk of displacement by automation.
  3. Latinos are underrepresented in industries with the highest degrees of adoption of digital technologies