A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center (PHC) projects that over the next 20 years, second-generation Hispanic births in the United States will outpace the rate of Hispanic immigration. That demographic shift has profound implications for the future of the nation's largest ethnic group and forces academics and marketers to re-evaluate long-held conventions about the market.
"We're all used to the idea that the growth of the Latino population is one of the key demographic events of our day," said Robert Suro, director of PHC, in a PBS interview. "This report signals a change in the character of that growth: A shift from immigrant growth to that of native-born children."
The report adds to a growing body of research that shows a tendency for Hispanics to acculturate rather than assimilate. Historically, U.S. immigrants have been assimilated into society by replacing their native customs with the Anglo-dominant culture. Hispanics, by contrast, have largely preserved their cultural traits while adopting a complementary set of skills from the mainstream, a process known as acculturation (see table, "Hispanic Segments").
|•Household size||3.9 people||3.6 people||3.1 people|
|•Time in the U.S.||Primarily first generation||U.S.-born or long-term resident||Fourth generation & beyond|
|•Neighborhood||Inner city; heavy ethnic minority concentration||Mostly suburban; multi-ethnic neighborhoods||Suburbs; mostly Anglo|
|•Self-identification||Latin American||Hispanic American or Latino||American of Hispanic heritage|
|•Values||Fully Hispanic||Strong attachment to Hispanic tradition||Fully Anglo|
|•Language preference||Spanish||Spanish or English||English|
|•Use Spanish in conversation with friends/families||Always||Mostly||Seldom|