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Archive for the ‘Hispanic 101’ Category

The Growing Appeal Of Spanish-Language Radio

For more than 40 years, 96.3 FM WQXR was known as New York City’s home for classical music.   Owned by the New York Times, the station had a powerful signal, reaching listeners from the city to the suburbs of New Jersey and Connecticut.

Then on October 9, 2009, 96.3’s listeners awoke to X96.3 FM playing rhythmic Spanish hits.  Univision Radio, had bought the 96.3 frequency for its new WXNY and given WQXR their former and less powerful frequency, 105.9.

These kinds of changes are happening in other major cities across the country, and they are a sign of the growing power of Spanish-language radio in America.  New Spanish stations are popping up all across the nation, with audiences that include bilingual Hispanics of every age and generation.  Hispanics spend more time listening to radio than non-Hispanics and see it as an important tool for keeping up with news.

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Hispanic 101 (Part 9): Hispanic Young Adults

In addition to being the largest minority group in the U.S., Hispanics are the youngest as well.  The median age for Hispanics in the U.S. is 27, and Hispanic children are one of the fastest-growing demographics  in the country.

A recent study from the Pew Hispanic Center shows that today’s Hispanic youth maintain strong links to their family’s roots and language, yet also place a high priority on success in America.

The Pew Center looked at Hispanic youth ages 16-25 and found a significant change had occurred over the last decade.  In 1995, half of Latino youth were immigrants.  Now, second-generation Americans, U.S.-born children of immigrant parents, are the largest percentage of Latino youth.  They now make up 37 percent, while foreign-born immigrants make up 34 percent.  Third-generation and higher youth, the children of American parents, make up the smaller group, 29 percent.

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Hispanic 101 (Part 8): Latino Entrepreneurs

Hispanic business owners are an important part of the Hispanic market. Census research has shown Hispanic-owned businesses are growing at three times the national average.  The latest figures show that one of every ten businesses in America is run by a Latino.  By 2010, it’s predicted that there will be 3.2 million Hispanic-owned firms in the U.S., altogether generating $465 billion annually.

The majority of these are small businesses with annual revenues under $250,000.  They range from local restaurants, to hair salons, construction companies, and mechanics.  Such businesses are key to the growth of the Hispanic middle class.

Then there are some 1,500 larger firms estimated to have 100 employees or more, manufacturers and large-scale construction contractors, chains of Hispanic-related grocery stores, and firms with real estate holdings in the U.S. and possibly Latin America.  Altogether, these businesses generate about $42 billion annually in gross revenue.  Many are started from scratch, with borrowed money or foreign capital.

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Hispanic 101 (Part 7): The Mexican Population In The United States

In trying to understand the Hispanic population in the U.S., knowledge of the Mexican and Mexican-American population is essential.  Despite our country’s many Latino ethnicities, the influence of Mexico remains stronger than any other country.

More than six in ten U.S. Hispanics are of Mexican origin.  The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that there are nearly 30 million Hispanics of Mexican origin living here.  After Mexicans, the other nine largest Hispanic groups make up only a third of U.S. Hispanics.

Mexican-Americans are often assumed to be immigrants, and for good reason: no other country in the world currently has as many immigrants in total as the U.S. has from Mexico alone.  The current amount of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. (32%) is the highest concentration of immigrants in the U.S. from one country since the late 19th century, when the Irish made up a third of the country’s immigrant population.

Yet, contrary to popular belief, the majority of Mexicans in the U.S. are native-born.  In fact, Mexican-Americans have one of the lowest rates of foreign birth of all Latinos; less than 40% are born outside the U.S.

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Hispanic 101 (Part 6): The Hispanic Affluent Class

Along with the nation’s many blue-collar Hispanics, there’s a significant number of affluent Hispanics in the U.S.

The Census Bureau defines affluent households as those with a median annual income of $100,000 or more.  As of 2006, there were more than 1.3 million affluent Hispanic households in the U.S., about 10 percent of all Hispanic households in the country.  The affluent class makes up about 3.7 million people nationwide, with a purchasing power over $1 trillion.

Hispanics are outpacing the general population when it comes to the growth of wealth.   Between 1991 and 2000, the number of affluent Hispanic households grew 126%, while the number of affluent households in the general population only grew 77%.

Hispanics control more personal disposable income than any other minority group in the United States.  The Selig Center of the University of Georgia estimated Hispanic buying power at $951 billion in 2008, a 349 percent growth from 1990.  During that time, non-Hispanic buying power had grown at less than half that rate.

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Hispanic 101 (Part 5): The Spanish Language in the U.S. and Effective Translations

The Spanish language may seem daunting with so many different dialects in use among U.S. Hispanics.  Luckily, there is a common, non-regional version of Spanish used often among U.S. Hispanics in formal settings such as business and news media.  This version is has come to be known as “Walter Cronkite Spanish,” after the reporter once regarded as the most trusted man in America.  Walter Cronkite had a voice and manner of speaking that seemed to transcend all American accents and local idoms, a “generic” English, so to speak.  In turn, “Walter Cronkite Spanish” refers to a more formal, dictionary-based Spanish, free of regional idioms.

Formal Spanish is useful for Hispanics to communicate in business across national borders.  As such, when using “Walter Cronkite Spanish,” a bus is an “autobus”, not a “gua-gua”, a friend an “amigo”, a car an “automovil,” and so on.  These may not be the terms that some Hispanics use in their homes and personal lives, but they are terms they understand when used by others.

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Hispanic 101 (Part 4): “White or Some Other Race”: The Complexity Of Hispanic Racial/Ethnic Identity

As we’ve discussing in this blog, when targeting a specific market (like the Hispanic market), we need to fully understand the market and its characteristics.  Through our “Hispanic 101” series, we’ve worked to give a better understanding of the Hispanic market’s size, its buying power, consumer habits, and other characteristics.

One frequently misunderstood thing about Hispanics is that the word “Hispanic” refers to an ethnicity, not a race.  We often read reports that speak about “white” “black” and “Hispanic” populations as if they were three different groups, when in fact there are white Hispanics, black Hispanics, Asian and American Indian Hispanics and others, all united by a link to a Spanish-speaking country.

The term “Hispanic” was created by the U.S. Census Bureau in the late 70s to cover those of Spanish-speaking origin, and the term has caused many debates.

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Hispanic Market 101 (Part 3) – Hispanics Online

Most of the country’s Hispanics are on the Internet.  Scarborough Research, a market research firm found that 54% of the Hispanic population was online as of 2008. Hispanics’ access grew 13% from 2004 to 2008, compared to 8% growth for Internet access in the general U.S. market.   Researchers at EMarketer project that by 2012, there will be nearly 30 million Hispanics online.   A recent study by ComScore found that the Hispanic online market in 2009 is at nearly double the rate of the overall U.S. market in number of visitors, time online and amount of pages consumed.

Among Hispanics, 18-34 year olds are more likely to use the Internet.  Recent studies have shown that this age group spends more time on the Net than on television.

Older generations shouldn’t be ignored though.  In a February study, market research firm Ipsos  found that the majority of middle-aged Hispanics went online at least once a month, along with 42% of Hispanics 55 and older.

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Hispanic Market 101 (Part 2) – Speaking Their Language: Adapting Your Message for a Hispanic Audience

It’s almost impossible, if not insulting, to try to speak of a generic Hispanic culture in the U.S.: Hispanic culture is inherently dynamic and hard to classify.  There are constantly new waves of Hispanic immigrants, more than 20 different countries represented, and huge differences between generations.  Anyone who seeks to market to this audience needs to appreciate its complexity.

First, let’s discard with stereotypes.   Most Hispanics are not recent immigrants to this country: in fact, the majority of Hispanics in the U.S. – three out of five – are native-born citizens.  The last census showed that the biggest group in the Latino population is Generation Y, those between 5 and 24 years old.

As you might expect, there’s a stark contrast in English ability between Hispanic immigrants and their native born children.  Among Hispanic immigrants, Puerto Ricans and South Americans are most likely to claim English proficiency, while Mexicans are the least likely.  According to a Pew Hispanic Center Report, only 1 in four Hispanic immigrants report being able to speak English well.  But that number jumps to 88% for US-born Hispanics 18 and over.

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Hispanic Market 101 (Part 1)

Anyone who works in multicultural public relations can tell you that translating a company message for the Hispanic audience takes more than just an English-Spanish dictionary.  Marketers should know the demographic well, its size, diversity, and potential.  The best work is done by those who go beyond stereotypes and create culturally savvy campaigns.

With that in mind, here is the first in a series of posts that we’re calling “Hispanic Market 101,” with key information for anyone considering outreach to Latino consumers.  Within these posts, we will also try to clarify why it’s important to invest in the Hispanic segment, even in the midst of a rough economy.

Size of the U.S. Hispanic Market

Hispanics make up approximately 15% of our population of our roughly 300 million residents. As of 2007, there were 45.5 million Hispanics; that doesn’t take into account undocumented residents, which have been estimated at anywhere form 5-10 million.  The Census Bureau compared population figures in 2000 and 2006, and found that Hispanics’ growth rate over those years was triple that of the overall U.S. population.

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