Industry key for U.S. Latino employment

New study shows lawn care and landscaping provide strong entrepreneurial and job availability for Hispanics.

November 23, 2011

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce released a major economic study confirming the vital role that the landscape and lawn care services industry plays in providing entrepreneurial opportunity, jobs and income to U.S. Latinos.

"This study clearly shows that the landscape and lawn care industry is a key creator of entrepreneurial opportunity for our community that is worthy of our strong support," USHCC President and CEO Javier Palomarez said. "It is very much the kind of 'low entry cost/high sweat equity' industry that provides immigrants and first-generation Americans with a starting point and pathway into the mainstream economy.”

The study, entitled "The Economic Impact of the Landscaping and Lawn Care Services Industry on U.S. Latinos" examines the landscaping and lawn care industry's impact upon Latinos. It was conducted for the USHCC by the Inter-University Program on Latino Research, a national consortium of 27 independent and university-based centers headquartered at the University of Notre Dame and dedicated to increasing the availability of policy-relevant, Latino-focused research. Among the study's key findings are:

  • The total household income of households with at least one worker in the landscaping industry totals almost $75 billion. Latino households with at least one worker in the industry obtain more than $18 billion in household income.
  • The landscape industry in the United States employs almost 1.6 million workers and generates almost 959,000 jobs in other industries. In total, Latinos account for more than 830,000 of the workers in both categories.
  • For Latinos, the landscape and lawn care industry is an important source of employment. The share of Latino employment in the industry is 2.6 times higher than the national average. Specifically, the data shows that while Latinos represent 13.4 percent of all U.S. workers, they represent 35.2 percent of all workers in landscape and lawn care services industry.
  • The landscaping and lawn care industry provides disproportionately more income to Latino households than the overall economy provides to Latinos. It also provides disproportionately more income to Latinos than it does to other population groups participating in the landscape and lawn care industry. The data reveals that 8.3 percent of the household income across the total U.S. economy is attributable to Latinos while nearly 25 percent of the household income within the landscape and lawn care industry is attributable to Latinos.
  • The landscape and lawn care services industry provides a strong source of entrepreneurial opportunity to Latinos.  The proportion of businesses owned by Latinos in the industry is almost double the national average for all industries with Latinos accounting for more than 16 percent of the business owners in the industry (versus 8.6 percent of the businesses nationwide).
  • Latino-owned businesses in the landscape and lawn care industry capture 7.5 times more of the total receipts than Latino-owned businesses across all industries with the landscape and lawn care industry reflecting an approximate 9 percent of total industry receipts versus 1.2 percent of total receipts across all industries.


Juan Carlos Guzman, who led the research effort for the IUPLR, noted that U.S. Census figures do not capture family and sole-proprietor businesses in the industry and may, as a result, not fully reflect the scope of Latino ownership and involvement in the industry. "While the census data does not include figures on family-owned and sole-proprietor businesses, we think it is more than likely that a similar proportion of those businesses are also Latino-owned," he said.

California, Texas, and Florida account for one-third of all the Latino workers employed in the landscape and lawn care services industry. Sixteen states, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Delaware, Florida, Utah, Maryland, Georgia, and Washington, all have Latino worker participation rates in the landscape and lawn care industry at twice or more the national average of Latino worker participation across all industries.

"Policy makers at all levels of government should be in the business of encouraging opportunity for Latino entrepreneurs, especially in industries like landscape and lawn care and especially in states where Latino-owned businesses and Latino employees are particularly in evidence,” Palomarez said. “There's no doubt that, given the industry's demographics, Latinos are disproportionately vulnerable to detrimental employment, income and ownership consequences from policies which adversely affect the landscape and lawn care industry. We urge Latino lawmakers to be particularly attentive to the industry's needs as it is an economic and opportunity engine for our community."