Hispanics and the future of the United States

Their movement, purchasing power, migration, and births, are key for the country’s development.

Hispanics and the future of the United StatesA woman and two children walk past a mural of El Salvador's national coat of arms painted on a building’s wall in Los Angeles. EFE Agency
A woman and two children walk past a mural of El Salvador's national coat of arms painted on a building’s wall in Los Angeles. EFE Agency

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WASHINGTON .- The enormous population growth and purchasing power of the Hispanic population in the U.S., which already accounts for 16% of the population, give this community a key role in the nation’s present and future, experts agreed in Miami.

Data and statistics confirm that "it will be impossible to think of the future without thinking of U.S. Hispanics," said Leo F. Estrada, a professor of Urban Planning at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

With over 50 million people, having turned into the first minority in the U.S., and the one with the fastest growth, the presence of Hispanics in this country always indicates demographic "growth areas", Estrada added, who participated in the biennial conference of the Cuban American National Council (CNC).

In that context, those areas or states where Hispanics are not present, are areas that will not grow, so, "we have reached a point where it is impossible to think of the future of the U.S. without thinking about the future of Hispanics”, he said to EFE.

In the exposition he carried out in the conference titled "Demographic trends and the Hispanic consumer," Estrada analyzed data and statistics that draw a new map of the "demographic reality" of the country, and of the "opportunities" that will open to those businesses with the ability to understand and assimilate these changes.

He put some figures into context, among others, that one out of seven people in the U.S. is Hispanic, but considering the rapid population growth of this community, "it will quickly reach 20%, and we’ll keep moving on.”

Thus, the greatest growth of the Hispanic community is being recorded in new states like South Carolina, with 148%, followed by Alabama (145%), Tennessee (134%) and Arkansas (114%) in the southeastern United States , although 50% of this population lies in California, Florida and Texas

In California, home to 14 million Hispanics, the growth of this community reached 27.8 percent.

By country of origin, Estrada anticipated that the Salvadorians will soon exceed the Cuban population as the third largest Hispanic group, with a growth of 151%, and 1.6 million people from that country, compared to a 44% increase of the Cubans, who make up 1.7 million people in that country.

Overall, he explained, 16 U.S. states will be accounted for 90% of future growth: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida and Georgia.

As for the purchasing power of Latinos, he noted that between 1990 and 2011 it has increased by 457%, compared to 267% of Asian origin, 173% of Native Americans, 151% of African Americans, and 114% non-Hispanic White Americans.

It is a fact that the extraordinary purchasing power of Hispanics and population growth, is not only transforming the present of this country, but will also "mark their future," said Monica Gil, vice president of Nielsen, leading market analysis and consumer trends, who agrees with Estrada.

In that sense, Gil said that, every hour, 131 Latinos are being born in the U.S., with a projected increase of 167% between 2010 and 2050, compared to 142% of Asians, 56% of African Americans, and 1% of non-Hispanic White Americans.

The sum of all these factors that weight on the Hispanic population, whose average age is 27 years compared to 37 that is registered in the U.S., "are defining the American culture," said Gil in the two-day meeting organized by the CNC, which also addresses other issues like the penetration in the Hispanic market through the media, or the power of the Latino vote.

Gil characterized the Hispanic population as a community where "diversity" prevails, with their own consumption and leisure habits, and a very defined "cultural sustainability", where 60% of Latino adults "want to be bicultural" and 35% prefer the term "Hispanic" versus 14% who prefer "Latino," he said as a curious fact.

The Latino population has become the twelfth largest economy worldwide, and, within three years, it will become the ninth, explained Gil, director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for the largest company in market analysis and consumer trends.

Estrada insisted that this change in the U.S. economic and cultural map, due to the influence of the Hispanic population, is "very difficult to accept by the people" of the country.

"These are changes that have happened so quickly that society has not adapted" to them, which has brought the emergence of "anti-immigrant groups" and "against the use of Spanish," he explained.

editorial@sandiegored.com

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