The wave of Spanglish has hit advertisers in recent years. Dos Equis invites its customers to “Keep it Interesante,” while taco fans at Taco Bell “Live Más.”
Home Depot and other retailers have adopted a near bilingual policy in stores. Smart move!
Hispanic culture is alive an well in the US, and it is an important growth engine for the US and will be for decades into the future.
Latinos in the US have a $3 trillion GDP and would be the fifth largest GDP in the world, if they were an independent nation, which is an economy on the size of the UK or France. Hispanic consumers in the U.S. contribute a total of $1.9 trillion in buying power, up 87% this decade, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia. Wow! Where else can you find a $1.9 trillion market with 87% growth? Hispanics account for one out of every six Americans and their aggregate buying power is larger than the GDP of Australia or Spain and would be ranked at the 10th largest national GDP in the world! Watch out Brazil, US Hispanic purchasing power will soon surpass your GDP, too! Amazon is in the act with a special store front celebrating Hispanic stores! Way to go, Amazon!
In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, observed during the week that included September 15 and September 16. In 1989, Congress expanded the observance to a month, from September 15 to October 15. It celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. We end Hispanic heritage month on October 15, which interestingly spans the celebration of Christopher Columbus, who sailed for the Spanish crown, and whose mark on history has in recent decades been reviewed. We still honor him in the denotation of the District of Columbia.
Here are some Interesante facts about the US Hispanic population:
62.5 Million – the number of US Hispanics, now some 19% of the US population. It is rapidly growing and is the source of demographic growth in southern and western states
The Hispanic population is largest in the California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and major metropolitan areas in the North, like Chicago, New York, and New Jersey. However, growth in the population is seen across all states!
High Hispanic populations in states correspond with the highest population (and economic) growth in the US over the last 65 years. Live Más indeed!
111 Million – the number of US Hispanics in 2060, when the group will constitute nearly 30% of the US population!
2050 – The year in which the US is forecasted to be home to the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. Today, the US is the second largest Spanish-speaking nation, after only Mexico. High Hispanics populations correspond to states with the highest growth in the US over the last 65 years. ¡Se Habla Español!
The US recently surpassed Spain to be the second largest Spanish-speaking country, with over 52 million Spanish speakers, or about 13% of the US population.
It makes me think about the Spanish empire and how much of it is being linguistically and culturally renewed. The US Hispanic populations are largest in regions with long historical and cultural ties to Spanish roots
From the map of Hispanics in the US, as taken from the last census in 2010, one can easily see the distribution along former Spanish territories in the US.
Research from the Pew Center shows that the US Hispanic population is growing rapidly, is increasingly US born, not foreign born, has an increasing English proficiency and is comprised of a diversity peoples from many Latin American countries, not just Mexico.
The composition of US Hispanics, although dominated by Mexicans, is increasingly diverse with peoples from Central America and the Caribbean.
The economic, political, social, and cultural opportunities with the US Hispanic population are immense. Firms and leaders would be wise to newly engage this large group of Americans and when doing so will be surprised to learn that they are diverse in politics, culture, and economics.
Looking for growth in your business, look to a demographic that will add over 50 million people in the next 40 years, nearly doubling in size. Hispanics will be increasingly US born, bilingual, and culturally rooted in both their native and US cultures. It is a massive source of customers and workers, but one also worthy of customization and understanding to be successful. No other ethic group in the US can promise that level of growth and opportunity!
Professor Walker is Cuban and Spanish by heritage, speaks Spanish, likes Ropa Vieja and Paella, served as a director of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber Commerce, where he launched an entrepreneur incubator for Hispanic start-ups, enjoys visiting US Hispanic cultural sites, and has advised multiple US Senators on US Latino affairs.
About Russell Walker, Ph.D.
Professor Russell Walker helps companies develop strategies to manage risk and harness value through analytics and Big Data. He is Associate Teaching Professor at the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. He has worked with many professional sports teams and leading marketing organizations through the Analytics Consulting Lab, an experiential class that he founded and leads at University of Washington, Foster School of Business.
His most recent and award-winning book, From Big Data to Big Profits: Success with Data and Analytics is published by Oxford University Press (2015), which explores how firms can best monetize Big Data through digital strategies. He is the author of the text Winning with Risk Management (World Scientific Publishing, 2013), which examines the principles and practice of risk management through business case studies.