Sunday, March 1, 2015

One Million and counting...

Almost One Million Latinos will turn 18 in the year 2015. That is an average of about 83,000 individuals per month, or about 23 percent of all those coming of age in the United States this year.

The number- 999,000 to be exact- was reported by Geoscape, an analytics and market intelligence company, to Fox News Latino in mid December. Yet, the growing power of Latinos is nothing new. Latinos are the largest ethnic group in the United States. As per the U.S. Census Bureau, as of July 1st, 2013, there are 54 million Latinos nationwide.

At 17 percent of the country’s population, Latinos make up the majority in 342 out of the nations 3,143 counties. Just this past March, the Latino population surpassed the white population in California. With 39 percent of its residents being of Hispanic origin, California is now the second state, after New Mexico, with the vast percentage of it’s populace identifying as Latino. Furthermore, with their Latino population reaching well over one million, Texas, Florida and Arizona may quite possibly be the next states to follow.

So what does this growth mean for Americans?

From a financial perspective, this growth is rather beneficial. That’s because an increase in numbers also means an increase in consumerism. As per global information and measurement company, Nielsen, by 2015, Latinos will have a spending power of about $1.5 trillion. That’s more than a 50 percent increase from just five years ago. What’s more is that Latinos are not just purchasing products at a cumulative rate, they also own many of the businesses that provide these products as well. While U.S firms have grown at a rate of 20.2 percent since 2007, Hispanic-owned U.S firms have grown at nearly double that (43 percent in 2014).

The significant increase of the Latino community also means an increase in voting power. In addition to being the largest ethnic group in the U.S, Latinos are also the youngest. With a median age of 27 years old, compared to 37 for the general American population and 42 for white non-Hispanics, Latinos currently make up 11.3 percent of all eligible voters. Since over 90% of Latino children are born in the United States and therefore are U.S Citizens, they will be able to register to vote once they turn 18 years old as well. That means that as more and more of our boys and girls come into adulthood, the number of Latino eligible voters is only slated to increase.

With a combination of youth, voting and purchasing power and a projected $486 Billion of revenue in business, Latinos are definitely a force to be reckoned with. However, with these numbers as impressive as they are, Hispanic voter turn out continues to lag behind that of White and Black non-Hispanic voters, as reported by the Pew Research Center. At a time when there is more urgency to appeal to the Latino population than there ever has been, Latinos better take heed. Our growing numbers guarantee that our voices will have impact. But, if not in the voting booths, how else will these voices be heard?

Originally Published in LatinTrends Magazine, Jan 2015

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