September 21, 2021

Congressman Castro, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Committee on Oversight and Reform Announce New GAO Report on Latino Underrepresentation in Media

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and the Committee on Oversight and Reform, shared the first of two reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the underrepresentation of Latinos in the media industry, including the film, television, news and publishing sectors. 

As Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Castro, the CHC, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform requested this report from GAO on Latino employment in the media industry as well as the role of the U.S. government, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the Federal Communications Commission, in the enforcement of federal equal opportunity requirements. 

“This new report from GAO reiterates what I have been saying for years – Latinos are mostly invisible in the image-defining and narrative-creating institutions of American society,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro. “From entry-level to executive-level positions, Latinos are severely underrepresented. This has resulted in a void in narrative, where many Americans lack a clear sense of who Latinos are and the countless contributions they’ve made to our nation. I hope this report is a wake-up call for the media industry.”

“As we have seen time and again, seeing yourself represented in media can be transformational for Americans and has the power to bring people together,” said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (CA-29). “When I was growing up, there were barely any Latinos represented behind news desks, on the silver screen, or on television. In recent years, we’ve seen how wildly successful and meaningful media featuring Latinos and Latino stories are to American culture. With Latinos holding $1.9 trillion in buying power, it’s not just good for our cultural soul, it’s good business. Latinos make up 18% of the U.S. population, and nearly 40% of the population in California, the proud world center of content creation. Unfortunately today, the GAO reports that the media industry has a long way to go, having increased Hispanic representation by just 1% from 2014-2019, and with Hispanics making up just 4% at the executive level. Latinos should have greater access to jobs on and off-screen, from executive level roles, to skilled jobs, to the writer’s room. Let’s do better.”

Key findings include:

  • In 2019, Hispanics represented an estimated 18 percent of the U.S. population.
  • The media industry had a lower percentage of Hispanic workers than the percentage for all other industries combined in 2019, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS).
  • Specifically, Hispanics made up an estimated 12 percent of workers in the media industry compared to an estimated 18 percent of workers in the rest of the workforce (workers in all industries outside of the media industry combined).
  • The analysis of ACS data shows little increase in the overall representation of Hispanics in the media industry in recent years. Hispanic representation in the media industry remained at an estimated 11 to 12 percent of the media industry workforce from 2014-2019.
  • Latinos make up 8 percent of the newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers’ workforce.
  • Approximately 11 percent of news analysts, reporters, and journalists were Hispanic.
  • Service jobs having the largest percentage (22%) of Hispanic workers and management having among the lowest Hispanic representation (4%).
  • Hispanic representation in the various job categories remained relatively unchanged in the media industry from 2014 to 2018, except for the service worker category, in which the percentage of Hispanic workers increased 6 percentage points.
  • Over half – 53 percent – of Hispanics in the media industry identified as Mexican/Mexican American/Chicano when asked about their Hispanic origin, 11 percent identified as Puerto Rican, and 6 percent identified as Cuban.
  • Multiracial and Black Hispanics comprised 5 percent and 3 percent of Hispanic workers in the media industry, respectively.
  • About 8 in 10 executives in the media industry are white.

View the full report here.

Watch Congressman Castro discuss the missing Latino narrative in American society at the National Press Club here.