Catholic Social Ministries andECUresearchers teamed up to survey hundreds of Hispanics. The findings confirm that it makes sense to include the Hispanic community in our booming economic equation.
If you look around eastern North Carolina, you will have no trouble finding the contributions Hispanics make to our economy. They are in construction, agriculture and high-tech jobs.
"We employ about 35 people right now," said Julio Cordoba, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president.
Cordoba owns Valcor, a Wake County electronics company. He has known all along that Hispanics make a large contribution to eastern North Carolina.
"The financial impact that our community is bringing as a whole is very large," said Cordoba.
The new study confirms it. The report says in 42 eastern North Carolina counties surveyed, the region's 106,000 Hispanics add up to $2.5 billion to the economy.
"Or another way to look at it is to think that the Hispanic population in the eastern part of North Carolina has an impact greater than the entire county of Bertie," said Albert Delia, ECU vice chancellor.
Also among the findings, 84 percent of the Hispanics have jobs, a quarter in agriculture and construction with a third of them making around $175 a week.
The troubling information is that a large amount of the money Hispanics make leaks back to their homeland, and community leaders believe that if some of these temporary residents were allowed to stay another year or two longer, they might keep more of their earnings here.
"I think we need to work on creating more stability for these people by providing them better tools so that they can feel that this is home. They can establish roots here," said Cordoba.
The amount of the money Hispanics send back to their homelands is significant. The researchers conducting the survey say it could be as much as 50 percent.