Hispanic Millennials: Becoming Mainstream America, But Not Losing Their “Latinicity” [INSIGHT]

In the past, Latinos who wanted to participate in some parts of American society felt they had to hide aspects of themselves to fit in. Today, that cultural zero-sum game is long gone – and our differences make us cool. Hispanics make up such a large proportion of young people in America that they’re not just participating in mainstream American culture, they’re increasingly defining it. And that doesn’t make them any less Latino.  

Tr3s recently developed a new report, “The Latinization of America … A ‘Next Normal’ Exploration.” This analysis highlights the latest research on Hispanic Millennials’ contribution to the changing demographics of the United States, what life is like for the fast-growing second generation population, and new meanings of acculturation.

From that analysis, here are some insights on acculturation for today’s Hispanic Adult Millennials:

Acculturation doesn’t mean losing their “Latinicity.” Hispanic young adults are really proud of their heritage and cultural values – and they feel no need to give them up. Instead, they’re taking cultural fluency from other groups and mixing what they like into their lives.  

They’re embracing — and becoming — mainstream America. Hispanic Millennials are participating in mainstream American culture the same way their non-Hispanic peers do — eating cheeseburgers, Instagramming photos, listening to Justin Timberlake, and watching The Walking Dead. And with trendy taco trucks, J.Lo judging on American Idol, Bruno Mars on the radio, and Mario Lopez delivering the day’s gossip, Latinos and Latino culture are becoming more and more mainstream.  

Spanish is their main language at home (even though they may be speaking English with friends, at school, or at work). A majority of Hispanics 18-34 speak mostly Spanish at home. Not surprisingly, this is most common among those who are foreign-born (9 out of 10 speak mostly Spanish at home). But most second generation Hispanics 18-34 do as well (67%).

Their digital world is mobile, social, and most often in English. Latinos are significantly more likely than non-Hispanic whites to access the internet via a mobile device (76% of Latinos, 60% of non-Hispanic whites). They’re also slightly more likely than non-Hispanic whites to use social networking sites (68% of Hispanic, 66% of non-Hispanic whites). And when it comes to all things digital, English is Hispanics’ language of choice. On social media, 6 in 10 communicate primarily in English. They are also nearly 5 times more likely to have visited a website in English than in Spanish in the last week.

Source: 2012 Tr3s Hispanic Adult Millennial Study; Simmons (2008-2013); Pew Hispanic Center (2011/2012), Tr3s Cooltura Panel 2007-2013


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