Latino Presence in Netflix Star Roles Remains Scarce: Study

Other minorities underrepresented in major roles on Netflix include people with disabilities

Netflix office in Los Angeles.
May 01, 2023 | 03:54 PM

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Bloomberg Línea — Leading roles for Latino or Hispanic characters only reach 7.7% of Netflix (NFLX) original movies and series, according to a joint study between the streaming platform and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

In a Netflix-commissioned analysis of this University of Southern California (USC) unit, it is concluded that overall 39.8% of all speaking characters in 2021 are from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, “a figure consistent with U.S. Census data,” according to the report’s authors.

However, in the case of Latino or Hispanic talent, the number of lead characters in Netflix original shows is much lower than the census recognized representation.

While the most recent data indicate that Latinos represent the largest minority in the U.S., at nearly 19%, this is not reflected in starring roles on Netflix, where they account for 6.2% in movies and 10% in series, for a total of 7.7%.


According to the report, some communities have shown progress in the way they are represented on Netflix, such as Asians, who, with 6.1% of the U.S. population, play a leading role in 6.9% of the company’s English-language movies and series.

US TV Latino Viewers Want More Latino Talent On and Off Camera

The authors of the report say that “Latinx, Middle Eastern/North African, and Native/Indigenous communities were often still missing on screen and behind the camera. Depictions of LGBTQ+ characters or characters with disabilities occurred infrequently across the films and series evaluated.”

Other minorities with low representation in leading roles on Netflix are people with disabilities. While 27% of the U.S. population identifies as part of this group, on Netflix only 1.1% of all characters in the platform’s movies and series have a disability.


The group conducting the study examined 546 English-language Netflix original programs, which were analyzed for various inclusion metrics, such as gender, race and ethnicity, as well as LGBTQ+ or disability (both in front of and behind the camera).

The study highlights that Netflix placed a woman or girl in the leading or co-starring role in 55% of its films and original series. It also refers that the platform leads the industry in terms of female program creators since 38.1% had a woman at the helm.