An advertising executive says Spanish speakers with Venezuelan accents are best when selling to Latinos in the U.S. because their accents are the most neutral.
A political analyst says Latinos are not single-issue voters and those who court them should keep that in mind on the campaign trail.
Those insights come amid a new analysis of census data released today by the US2010 Project at Brown University which shows a growing diversity among Latino groups in the U.S. that is marked by class and regional differences.
The implications are wide-ranging as Latinos increase their political and economic power.
"How would a political party reach out to Hispanics?" said John R. Logan, professor of sociology at Brown University. "How will marketers? I think there's a little bit of a fallacy here to think that Hispanics are a single group. "
They aren't. Census reports in the past identified Latinos as Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban, or asked respondents to write in another category.
The Brown University report reallocated a share of "Other Hispanics" to specific national origin groups.
The finding provided striking socioeconomic differences among Latino groups.
Low education and poverty are more common among Guatemalans and Mexicans. Puerto Ricans and those who descend from South America enjoy distinct socioeconomic advantages.
Logan said the differences are in large part due to the circumstances in an immigrant's native country. Some are fleeing impoverished and war-torn nations with corrupt governments. Others may already be well-educated in their homeland and have jobs lined up in the U.S.
Robert Garcia is a 35-year-old city councilman in Long Beach who emigrated illegally as a child with his family from Peru and later became a citizen.
"When anyone emigrates to any country, there absolutely needs to be an understanding that you're in a new place, with new cultures and there's a way things work," said Garcia. "Learning the language and educating yourself are very important to success for any immigrant. "
The Brown University findings were part of an analysis of census data that looked mainly at residential separation among the various Latino groups in the U.S.
The report found that residential segregation remains unchanged among Mexicans in the U.S. as their counterparts from other countries are increasingly dispersed in neighborhoods across the nation.
"It represents to some extent that Mexicans are moving out of those neighborhoods but being replaced by new immigrants," Logan said. "The barrios are pretty entrenched and they're not breaking down. Other than that, I thought it somewhat remarkable the extent to which the residential segregation of other groups has been falling by wide margins. "
As marketers and campaign architects alike ratchet up their efforts to woo Latinos, the Brown University report underscores the notion that those reaching out to them would do well to understand where they live and who they are.
While Mexicans are highly concentrated in the Southwest, 1.3 million live in Chicago, making it the fourth-highest number in the country. More than 70 percent of Mexicans are spread across other parts of the nation, according to the report.
The New York metropolitan area has historically been home to the highest concentration of Puerto Ricans.
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