OPINION

Five indisputable reasons why Latinas matter

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24:  Sales associate Maria Ayala (L) helps Carmen Anzo shop for clothing in a store located in Chicago's largely Hispanic Little Village neighborhood October 24, 2003 in Illinois. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, reports show that the nation's Hispanic population has grown to become the largest minority.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Sales associate Maria Ayala (L) helps Carmen Anzo shop for clothing in a store located in Chicago's largely Hispanic Little Village neighborhood October 24, 2003 in Illinois. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, reports show that the nation's Hispanic population has grown to become the largest minority. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)  (2003 Getty Images)

While it has become common knowledge that Latinos represent the fastest growing segment in the country, their force and power in the economy, politics and business are yet to be fully leveraged by America’s decision makers across sectors. 

Somehow the math does not seem to be enough to unlock the audience, consumer or voter population that is set to make a winning difference for many.

With a projected population growth of 167 percent from 2010- 2050 versus 1 percent for non-Hispanic whites and a thriving $1.2 trillion in buying power, when compared to the GDP of the G-20, Hispanics are the 11th largest economy in the world, according to the U.S. Census and the Selig Center for Economic Growth.

Despite media stereotypes around Hispanic matters, the numbers demonstrate it being a very upwardly mobile community, made up of 65 percent U.S.-born citizens with a lot of influence. Also, 29 percent of all are upscale Hispanic earning an income over $50,000 per year. Nielsen has called the group America’s new baby boomers.

But what is behind this shift? A new generation of entrepreneurs and college educated Latinos. For the first time, as reported by the Pew Hispanic Center,  a greater share of Hispanic recent high school graduates are enrolled in college than whites. According to the Census Bureau, 49 percent of young Hispanic high school graduates were enrolled in college. By comparison, 47 percent of white non-Hispanic high school graduates were enrolled in college; and Latinas are outpacing their male counterparts in their educational pursuit and career development. 86 percent of Latinas also report the woman being the primary shopper for the household, therefore controlling the decisions behind the so coveted $1.2 trillion in buying power.

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Yet people still wonder when it comes to placing the right level of investment, priority and outreach to engage the community that represents the future of America; particularly Latinas.

This is why we have assembled five key reasons that may inspire you to take a new look at the power of Latinas.

1. 100 Percent Of Growth Of Women Population 18-49 Is Latina

From winning elections to selling cars, shampoo or baby products, everyone seems to be targeting ‘women’ as their sweet spot. How could Latinas not be a priority when the group represents 10 percent of the growth in the women population ages 18-49 from 2010 to 2020? The non-Hispanic women population between the same age range is actually shrinking at 1.8 per cent for the same period.

2. Hispanics Are 14 Years Younger

Win them today and you win a lifetime fan. The median age of Hispanics is 27 years-old versus 41 for Whites, 32 for Black and 35 for Asian. The community is a millennial, bicultural and bilingual community that is reshaping pop-culture and leading the trends.

3. 1 In 4 Births

Hispanic households are larger and as the population grows, there is a compounding effect with the contribution Latina moms represent. The Department of Education has projected that public schools will be majority-minority this Fall. Young Latinos alone accounted for at least 20 percent of public school kindergartners in 17 states, up from just eight states in 2000.

4. Upscale And Entrepreneurial

Hispanic-owned businesses have nearly doubled over the last decade, a rate more than twice than the average national business growth rate during that period, according to a study commissioned by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Geoscape. Women-owned firms make up 34.9 percent of all Hispanic non-farm businesses across the country.

5. Preserving Cultural Heritage

Latinas are the gatekeepers of culture and language at home. Contrary to the assumption of many, they are working to preserve the language with their families and children. In fact, a recent Nielsen report shows that there is a decline in English-speaking-only Hispanic households while there is an 87 percent growth in the amount of Spanish being spoken at home. While 65 percent are U.S. born Spanish continue to be the language of the heart.

Indeed Latinas are a force of change, and every year that goes by in which corporations, politicians and society ignores their power is a year of incremental opportunities and growth that is grossly missed.

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Lili Gil Valletta is an award-winning entrepreneur, multicultural marketing strategist, Fox News independent contributor and co-founder of XL Alliance. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women's Leadership Board.