(percentage growth U.S. population)
|Source: The Pew Hispanic Center: "The Rise of the Second Generation: Changing Patterns in Hispanic Population Growth"|
This generational evolution involves cultural identity, especially as transmitted by native language. Using Census data, Hispanic Consumers in Transition calculates that 89.6 percent of native-born Hispanics speak English well compared to about half (52 percent) of foreign-born Hispanics. "An overwhelming percentage of Hispanics speak English very well – and the age of fluency is getting younger and younger," the book concludes. "The large and growing divide between native- and foreign-born Hispanic demographics becomes more pronounced with each passing year and decade."
Language-use trends hold staggering implications for the future of Hispanic media. In the book "Latinos Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People," Arlene Davila relates that the Spanish-language broadcasting industry's "premise and rationale for existence are not only that there are basic differences between Latinos and other consumers that need to be addressed through culture- and language-specific marketing, but also that there is a continuous influx to the United States of Spanish-speaking populations that would not be reached by advertising were it not for this type of marketing."
If, in 25 years, that premise loses appeal, it could open opportunities for the creation of new media outlets and content that address the U.S. Hispanic experience in formats that don't, in Ms. Davila's words, "bar second and third generation [Hispanics] in this country" the way Spanish-language media does. The changing role of women represents another powerful dynamic of the market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the female Hispanic labor force will grow from 5.7 million in 1998 to 8.5 million in 2008, an increase of 48 percent. That represents the highest growth rate among all female ethnic groups. On the entrepreneurial front, the number of companies owned by Hispanic women grew 39.3 percent between 1997 and 2002, according to statistics from the Center for Women's Business Research cited in Hispanic Consumers in Transition. "Many experts believe women entrepreneurs hold the key to future small-business growth," the book states.
|HISPANIC PERCENTAGE OF U.S. WORKFORCE
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