Skip to main content

Hispanic Underrepresentation In The Media

Posted on September 23, 2021

The media industry plays an important role in educating and entertaining the public—from producing movies and television programming to publishing books and providing news coverage. But this industry has been criticized for its lack of diversity.

As we mark National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15), today’s WatchBlog post looks at our new report on how Hispanics are represented in the U.S. media industry and in specific media occupations.

Hispanics in the workforce

Hispanic workers comprised an estimated 12% of the media industry’s workforce; outside of the media, however, Hispanics are an estimated 18% of all workers. What’s more, while the Hispanic representation in the U.S. workforce grew from 16% to 18% between 2014 and 2019, it remained fairly steady at 11% and 12% in the media workforce during the same time period.

Estimated Percentage of Hispanic Workers in the Media Industry and All Other Industries, 2014-2019


Bar chart showing the estimated percentages of Hispanic workers in the media vs all other industries, from 2014-2019


Hispanic representation by media industry, occupation

As the U.S. population has become more diverse, many media companies have come to recognize the importance of employing a diverse workforce that reflects different perspectives on screen and in print. However, a study of 1,000 popular movies from 2007-2019 found that only about 5% of all speaking characters on screen and 4% of directors were Hispanic.

In our report, we found that Hispanic representation varied across different subsectors of the media industry. The population’s greatest representation was in the motion picture and video industries, at 16%. Hispanics’ lowest representation (8%) was in the subsector for newspapers, periodicals, books, and directory publishers.

Estimated Percentage of Hispanic Workers by Media Industry Subsector, 2019


Bar chart showing Hispanic representation by media industry subsector in 2019


Similarly, our analysis found that Hispanic representation varied by media occupation. For example, Hispanic representation was higher in camera operator and media equipment occupations, but lower for positions involving writing.

Estimated Percentage of Hispanic Workers in the Media Industry by Media Occupation, 2018 and 2019 Combined


Bar chart showing the estimated percentage of Hispanic workers by media occupation, 2018 and 2019


Our future work on representation in the media

Our work is ongoing. We plan to expand our analysis of Hispanic representation in the media to include, for example, representation of women in the media by race and ethnicity, including by occupation. We will also be looking at industry efforts to increase workforce diversity and how federal agencies are enforcing equal employment opportunity requirements and promoting workforce diversity in the media industry.  This report will be available to the public in spring 2022.

To learn more about our analysis of Hispanic representation in the media industry, check out our new report.


GAO Contacts

Related Products

About Watchblog

GAO's mission is to provide Congress with fact-based, nonpartisan information that can help improve federal government performance and ensure accountability for the benefit of the American people. GAO launched its WatchBlog in January, 2014, as part of its continuing effort to reach its audiences—Congress and the American people—where they are currently looking for information.

The blog format allows GAO to provide a little more context about its work than it can offer on its other social media platforms. Posts will tie GAO work to current events and the news; show how GAO’s work is affecting agencies or legislation; highlight reports, testimonies, and issue areas where GAO does work; and provide information about GAO itself, among other things.

Please send any feedback on GAO's WatchBlog to