LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Is Hollywood falling behind when it comes to racial and gender diversity?

Researchers at USC found about 73 percent of characters in the 100 top‐grossing films from 2014 were white, while less than 2 percent of directors for the same category were female.

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The “Inequality in 700 Popular Films” study (PDF) from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism also found less than 5 percent of all speaking or named characters in those movies were Hispanic or Latino, despite that group comprising about 17 percent of the U.S. population.

Just 2.4 percent of recent top-grossing films were directed by Asians, comprising 19 Asian directors in total across the 700 top-grossing films, researchers said.

Hollywood’s apparent lack of diversity also impacted gender, as no female actors over 45 years of age were cast in a lead or co-lead role in 2014, according to the study. Only three of the female actors in lead or co-lead roles were from an underrepresented ethnic background.

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The study also found a notable increase – 7.8 percent – in the number of female characters aged 40-64 years old when a female director was attached to a project.

Looking at the sexualization of male versus female characters, researchers noted female teens between 13-20 years of age were just as likely to be shown in “sexy attire, with exposed skin and referenced as attractive” in the 100 top films of 2014 as young adult females between the ages of 21 and 39.

Across 4,610 speaking characters in the 100 top films of 2014, only 19 were lesbian, gay or bisexual, according to the study.

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The study recommended “adding and adjusting” the casting of background or supporting players as one potentially “easy and essential means of increasing the diversity in popular movies.”