There are 52 million Latinos in the United States. About 1.1 million Hispanics are born every year, 131 born every hour.
That much is known. Here’s what is not:
“Companies continue to try and figure out how Latinos can influence their brand,” said Mónica Gil, senior vice president of public affairs for Nielsen.
Companies, both private and public, continue to grapple with how to tap into the Latino market – and how to capture a slice of their growing purchasing power, which last year was estimated at $1.2 trillion. To try and find some answers, market research firm Nielsen and the Hispanic Federation closely studied the Latino market in the New York metropolitan area.
The report, months in the making, looked at Census, geographical and demographical data in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, was released Monday.
The results were not surprising – Latinos continue to be on the lower rung of both the local and national economies. About 19 percent of Latino households in the New York region earn less than $15,000 a year. The average income for Latinos is $30,000 less than other groups as a whole. And Latinos continue to lag behind other groups in educational attainment.
But the study showed Latinos are making great gains in both educational attainment and income – a growing number are graduating college and earning over six figures.
“Although we continue to be disproportionately on the lower rung of the economy, that’s changing,” José Calderón, president of the Hispanic Federation, said Monday during a panel discussion of the report in New York City.
But how do you attract that segment of the population? One that is racially and economically diverse, often speaks two languages, and embraces two cultures? While the answer remains elusive, the report broke Latinos down into subgroups – from the urban "abuelitos: (older, lower-income grandparents who live in the city) to the "Lat(te)inos," middle-aged, upper middle class families who live in the suburbs.
By breaking it down to lifestyles, the report said, it showed Latinos were more than statistics and figures but a unique community that is rarely understood. They are, the study says, "discerning consumers deeply engaged with technology and attracted to a wide range of content."
“You can’t just say ‘Let’s take out a Spanish-language ad,’ and think you’ve done a good job reaching the Hispanic market,” said Juan Carlos Dávila, who heads Nielsen’s Hispanic Market Center of Excellence. “It has to be a more nuanced approach.”