Author:de la Vega, Ralph

In my opinion, one of the defining characteristics of great leaders is that they make decisions based on facts. I nave always advocated that individuals and organizations must face the "brutal facts" when dealing with difficult situations in order to develop viable solutions.

Being grounded on solid facts is particularly important in conflictive times such as the ones we are living in now. Oftentimes today, individuals debate points of view using opinions and ideology instead of facts. This leads to wrong conclusions and makes it difficult to reach agreement on key issues.

Fortunately, in regard to views about US Hispanics, a new set of facts has become available thanks to the great work of the Latino Donor Collaborative*, which funded important research to track the progress and contributions of US Hispanics in America.

This research, when combined with facts from the Pew Research Center and from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sheds a new light on the impact that Hispanics are making to our country in three key areas: the economy, education, and entrepreneurship.

Once you review the research, it is undeniable that Hispanics are a huge asset to our country, not a liability, and in feet are fueling its economic growth. Let's look at each key area in more detail.

Economic Impact

Let me start with economic impact.

Many Hispanic immigrants like me may have arrived without much, but that has not stopped us from making a contribution.

In my case, I arrived without a penny in my pocket. Through hard work and study, I eventually became the vice chairman of AT&T. I continue to contribute after my retirement from AT&T, setting up my own company and investing in new businesses to create economic wealth.

My story is not unique. Together, the 55 million Latinos who lived and worked in the US in 2015 contributed 12.13 trillion to the US GDP, fueling the growth and vitality of the US economy.

Just to put that $2.13 trillion into perspective, if the US Latino population were an independent economy, it would rank as the seventh largest in the world. Greater than Italy, India, Brazil, or Canada (according to 2015 data). It would also be the third fastest growing economy in the world after China and India.


A second indicator of a community's progress is education.

In the US, education is key to one's success. In my case, it made a huge difference in my life.

That's why I'm so encouraged by the recent findings showing that Latinos are making very...

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