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In a Vulnerable State: Hispanic Essential Workers in California

Using 2019 Current Population Survey data, this policy brief examines California’s essential workforce by race, occupation and benefits. This analysis demonstrates that Hispanic essential workers are particularly vulnerable due to their concentration in specific occupations. Compared with the state’s overall essential worker population, Hispanic essential workers earn lower wages, have less access to health care and are less likely to work from home.

Understanding California’s essential worker population is critical to ensuring that the state addresses these economic vulnerabilities during the pandemic. The brief closes with a series of policy recommendations to close key gaps in the short term, including adjustments to compensation and benefits.