Study: Latino GDP is 7th largest in the world

Customers wait for their food on August 11th, 2017. at Pupuseria Juanita in Eugene, Ore.

EUGENE - The Latino community is helping to boost the U.S economy, according to a new study by the Latino Donor Collaborative.

Juanita Cortez, a small business owner from El Salvador, came to the U.S to escape the civil war in the 1980’s.

"Las guerrillas nomas pedian por dinero, robaban, te quitaban lo poquito que tenias,” she said. Translated in English: “the guerrillas only asked for money, robbed, took everything they had.”

Leaving her restaurant in El Salvador behind, she sought an opportunity here.

Cortez sold pupusas and tamales when she was taking classes at Lane Community College.

"Empecé llevando pupusas allá, y tamales, y los vendía y si no me pedían alguna companias pupusas y me iba en el bas a dejar las pupusas,” Cortez said.

Now celebrating 10 years, she owns a colorful pupuseria stand in west Eugene, creating a feel very similar to a Latin American restaurant.

Just like Juanita’s pupuseria, many Latino businesses are helping the U.S economy grow.

In a recent study done by Latino donor collaborative, the Latino gross domestic product is growing faster than the country’s non-Latino GDP.

“The Latino population has been growing rapidly as a percentage as an overall population so we would expect to see Latino business also adding to the GDP rapidly,” said Brian Rooney, regional economist at Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.

Lane County employment has also been growing according to Rooney.

“It includes retail hotels, restaurants, computer services - it covers all industries within the economy,” said Rooney.

Juanita says that people in the Latino community who want to own a business take advantage of the opportunity, and that the community can help one another by supporting local Latino businesses.

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