Economic fuerza: Hispanic spending power soars
While the rate of Latino population growth in the U.S. has slowed since the Great Recession, experts say it’s still increasing at an impressive rate.
Of the 2.2 million people added to the nation’s population between 2016 and 2017, Hispanic accounted for slightly more than half of that growth. Today, the U.S. has 59 million Hispanic residents, a figure expected to nearly double by 2060, according to U.S. Census projections.
Arizona is home to 2.2 million Hispanics, or 31 percent of the state’s 7 million residents, making this is one of nine states with a population of at least 1 million Hispanics, according to the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s “DATOS: The State of Arizona’s Hispanic Market” report.
“No matter how you count, Hispanics in Arizona and nationwide are growing in numbers and spending power,” said Gonzalo A. de la Melena, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
In 2016, Maricopa County had 1.3 million Hispanics. In Phoenix, Hispanics are 40 percent of the city’s population, a majority of which consists of people of color.
One reason the Hispanic population continues to boom is its relative youth. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one-third of Hispanics nationwide are under 18. In Arizona, the median age of Hispanics is 25, as compared to 41 for non-Hispanic whites.
In a clear sign of things to come: Among the state’s K-12 student population, Latinos are nearly 50 percent of the total, meaning a greater percentage of the state’s future workforce will be Hispanic.
Although high school graduation rates among Hispanics have increased, not enough Latinos are finishing high school or earning high education degrees.
“The one thing we need to focus our energy on is the educational attainment of all people, and in particular people of Latino descent,” said Arizona State University President Michael Crow, who is making a big push to recruit more Hispanic students. “Our economic success will depend on the realization of the American dream for all ethnic groups.”
The fast-growing Hispanic workforce is boosting home sales. From 2000-2017, Hispanic-owned households in the United States increased by 76 percent, going from approximately 4 million to 7 million. Latinos are predicted to make up just over half of new home buyers between 2010 and 2030, according to the 2017 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report.
About two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics are of Mexican origin – followed, respectively, by Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, Central Americans and South Americans. About one-third of Arizona Hispanics are foreign-born, while 15 percent of Hispanics statewide are undocumented immigrants.
While immigration from Central America has been rising, the number of Mexicans migrating to the U.S. has dropped dramatically in recent years as Mexico’s expanding economy adds jobs and the U.S. immigration authorities pursue an unprecedented enforcement crackdown against immigrants.
Arizona ranks sixth for the highest Hispanic household income for Hispanic-dense states (states with a Hispanic homeownership rate of at least 50 percent and where Hispanics account for at least 10 percent of the population). Here’s how they rank:
New Mexico: $38,924