By Karla Fernandez Parker
The figures are out from the latest U.S. Census, and it’s clear Latinos drove population growth in the U.S., having increased from 50.5 million in 2010 to 62.1 million people in 2020. That accounts for 51.1% of the overall population growth of 22.7 million.By contrast, the general population in the U.S. only grew by 7.4% during the same period.
The states with the highest percentage change of Latino growth in the past decade were Pennsylvania (45.8%); North Carolina (39.8%); Florida (34.9%); and Georgia (31.6%). Add to this the fact that Latino businesses accounted for 80% of all net new businesses created in the past 10 years, and we can clearly see this economic engine is becoming more powerful.
Latinos account for 18.7% of the total population, meaning nearly one in five Americans are Latino. Looking at the U.S. population in general, 53% of people under the age of 18 are persons of color. Practically every major metropolitan area saw population growth, while the population of rural areas continues to decline.
So where are the retailers in all of this? Retail marketers continue to woefully underspend on the Latino market — and take a generic view of this extremely diverse group of Americans who span a myriad of skin tones, racial backgrounds, levels of acculturation, and countries of origin and identity.
Ad agencies have made little progress in diversifying their employee rosters. The proof is in the advertising product that continues to treat the Latino market as a monolith. In an age when we can narrowly target by diet selection, neighborhoods, and brand affinity, one can only think marketers are reluctant to recognize how powerful this segment has become and would rather stick with demographics they are comfortable with.
The reality is, advertisers keep taking the easy way out at the expense of increased profits. We have more evidence than ever that the Latino population has more spending power, is in major metropolitan areas, and is driving small business creation as well as gaining in higher education attainment.
It’s way past time to look at who is on your marketing team, at your ad agency, and in your marketing messages.