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June 2008

Hispanic Power

On the Rise

Nationally, the Hispanic population increased by 1.4 million to 45.5 million as of July 1, 2007. Hispanics are 15.1 percent of the nation’s 301.6 million people.

Census Bureau information released in May also shows the Hispanic population exceeded 500,000 in 16 states. Texas’ Hispanic population increased to 8.6 million, outpaced only by California, which had an increase of 13.2 million.

Already more than a third of all Texans, Hispanics figure heavily in how business is done.

Tracey Lamphere

More than 36 percent of Texas’ citizens are Hispanic, exceeding twice the national percentage, and by 2020 Hispanics could be the majority of Texas’ population. This trend will continue to influence the state economy.

Food for Thought

Grocery store shelves bear testimony to this shift. For example, the Oneta Company of Corpus Christi unveiled its new Everest bottled water, Everest Extra with Aloe, at the Hispanic Retail 360 Summit in Dallas last year hoping to woo Hispanic consumers.

Similarly, La Abuela Mexican Foods, Inc., a Weslaco-based tortilla manufacturer since 1994, has seen demand swell among all consumers.

“There’s been a huge growth in the acceptance of Hispanic foods,” says Sofia Erosa, a sales and marketing representative for the company.

Fiesta Mart of Houston has been bringing international flavors to Texas shoppers since 1972. With products from Mexico, Germany, the Caribbean and Asia, the grocer has always considered itself an international supermarket.

Other grocery stores have followed suit, recognizing that expanding consumer bases provide new opportunities.

“Hispanics make up a very large segment of the consumer base, and companies are now spending marketing dollars to court the Hispanic consumer,” says Zack Lujan, president of the Amarillo Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Many Hispanic-owned businesses are being created because of this emerging market. It is becoming a very competitive business environment in attempts to ensure long-term growth capabilities.”

Good for Business

Lujan says growth in Texas’ Hispanic population creates opportunities for consumers and employers.

“The Hispanic work force is very sought after,” he says. “Almost every [Chamber] member has come to us asking for assistance in locating talented bilingual staff to fill all types of positions. People are being sought after in a variety of positions, including sales, management, reception and many other areas.”

And as the number of Hispanics earning college degrees increases, so do their employment options, Lujan says.

“The generation that is in college is raising the educational attainment level for Hispanics,” he says. “As a group, the Hispanic population is starting to have representation in higher-ranking positions at many companies.”

This group continues to flex its financial might. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Hispanic buying power in the United States will reach $1 trillion by 2011, and companies are giving their products a new twist to reach this rapidly growing market.

“Hispanic buying power is increasing tremendously in our area,” says Lujan. “One major effect that I think is easily viewed is that our area has not been impacted as much with the economic downturn being experienced nationwide.”

Hispanic-owned businesses nationwide grew 31 percent between 1997 and 2002, three times the national average for all businesses. The nearly 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses generated nearly $222 billion in revenue, up 19 percent from 1997. FN

Arizona is 15.5% Hispanic. California is 17.7%. Colorado is 11.3%. Florida is 14.9%. Illinois is 8.5%. Nevada is 14.3%. New Jersey is 9.0%. New Mexico is 29.8%. New York is 9.3%. Texas is 19.8% Hispanic.   Source: The Mulitcultural Economy 2007, University of Georgia.

Market Share by State

Hispanic buying power rose from $212 billion in 1990 to $862 billion nationwide in 2007. It is estimated that will increase to $1.2 trillion in 2012. In Texas, Hispanic consumers spent about $154 billion in 2007.

The market share held by Hispanic consumers nationally rose from 5 percent in 1990 to 8.6 percent in 2007. It also increased in every state. Texas ranked second in 2007 among states with the highest Hispanic market share, at 19.8 percent.

For more information on Hispanic-owned businesses, visit the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce at