The organization surveyed nearly 500 Latinos in Mecklenburg County from September 2021 through May 2022 to determine how the community has changed, its strengths, and its needs.
CHARLOTTE, NC — At last count, there are 170,000 Latinos living in Mecklenburg County, a number that has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Camino Health Center has spent the past few months studying Charlotte’s Latino community, noting that it’s been more than 20 years since anyone formally assessed their needs.
On Thursday, Camino released the results of his studies in the “2022 Latino Strengths and Needs Report,” the culmination of surveys of nearly 500 Latinos in Mecklenburg County from September 2021 through May 2022.
The group also held focus groups to gather more detailed responses. The objective, as the name of the report suggests, was to determine how the Latin American community has changed, as well as its strengths and needs.
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One of the insights the report found was the strength of the Latin American community when it comes to work ethic and entrepreneurship.
In fact, as the report notes, businesses owned by Latinas are one of the fastest growing business segments in the United States, and Latinos are participating at higher rates in the workforce than non-Latinas. Latinos, with Latino men having the highest turnout rates of all.
In Mecklenburg County, the top employment sectors for Latinos were cleaning and catering at 30%, skilled labor at 16%, and education at 7%.
However, the report found job opportunities to be one of the most important needs of Charlotte-area Latinos. The report says some Latinos hold advanced degrees in their home countries but have struggled to requalify after moving to the United States.
The impacts of this can be seen in professional career rates.
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The report shows that 79% held professional positions as teachers, healthcare providers and engineers in their home countries, but only 54% maintained those professional careers after moving to the United States.
The report notes that this can often lead to lower-paying jobs without health insurance, which then leads to further barriers to accessing healthcare and mental health.
Read the full report findings here.