Mexican-origin Hispanics make up 65 percent of the total Hispanic population in the U.S., according to the Pew Hispanic Center's analysis of 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) data released earlier this week.
"It is not surprising that Mexican-Americans are the largest U.S. Hispanic group," said Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) President and CEO Martin Castro. "The American Southwest was once Mexican territory, so when it was annexed by the United States its Mexican residents remained living here." He also pointed to "high birth rates among Mexican-Americans" compared to non-Hispanics whites and African-Americans.
Mexican-Americans and the Economy
MAOF board chairman Carlos J. Viramontes said the U.S. economy is dependent on Hispanic consumers and their dollar spreads across many industry sectors.
"A casual walk through any type of retail store will feature brands that would have a severe shortfall in sales were it not for Hispanic consumers," he said. "Products such as beverages, foods, infant care products, health and beauty aids, home improvement stores, auto dealers, electronic goods -- in short, there are many consumer goods companies that would not meet their corporate profit objectives were it not for the continued patronage of Mexican-American consumers."
Mexican-Americans are the largest Hispanic origin group in 50 of the 60 metropolitan areas covered by the Pew report, and make up more than half of the Hispanic population in 46 of them.
Additionally, in 33 of these metro areas, Mexicans are not only the largest Hispanic origin group, they also outnumber any other racial or ethnic group.
Mexican-Americans and Politics
Both Mitt Romney and President Obama this week appeared on the Univision-sponsored "Meet the Candidate." Univision anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas asked both pressed the presidential candidates about immigration. While Romney said he would expand legal immigration, Obama admitted that immigration reform was his "biggest failure."
Related story:"President Obama: Immigration Reform 'Biggest Failure'"
It's clear both candidates are depending heavily on the U.S. Hispanic vote. And according to Viramontes, there are 23 million eligible Hispanic voters.
"The importance of Latino voters has never been more magnified," he said. "Research has shown that the concerns of Mexican-Americans are similar to our non-Hispanic neighbors; the economy, education, health and immigration. It is not a single-issue platform with which Mexican-American voters are concerned.
"Candidates for all public offices would be well served to be cognizant of the issues of particular interest to Mexican-American voters," Viramontes added.
Arturo Vargas, executive director of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund said Mexican-Americans were responsible for much of the dramatic growth in the Hispanic electorate during the last decade, and particularly in the southwest.
"Given that they now comprise an increasingly significant segment of eligible voters in states across the country, Mexican-Americans will no doubt play a decisive role in the outcome of numerous elections this November," Vargas told HispanicBusiness.com.
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