January 16, 2008
BY SUSAN C. INGRAM
Two recent reports highlight how Latinos are viewed differently by Washington and Wall Street – with government policies seeking to repel the Latino immigrant influx and big business embracing their market potential.
With anti-immigrant sentiments festering in the United States, it is no surprise that a recent nationwide survey finds that some Latinos believe they are negatively impacted by the current atmosphere.
In the “2007 National Survey of Latinos: As Illegal Immigration Issue Heats Up, Hispanics Feel a Chill” released recently by the Pew Hispanic Center, Latinos reported fears that they or someone they know may be deported, and that the lack of immigration reform has made life more difficult.
Those difficulties include getting a job or housing, seeking government services, and traveling outside the U.S. Latinos also said they are often asked to show verification of their immigration status.
They feel uncomfortable with recent efforts designed to make undocumented immigrants unwelcome, such as making English the official language. In Taneytown, a proposal was defeated to declare the town not a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. These kinds of measures are apt to make legal immigrants feel unwanted, too, the study found.
But while this is going on, Wall Street is embracing Latinos – the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority - as an economic force that businesses, advertisers and investors should hitch a ride on.
At a fall multicultural marketing summit in Miami, Fla., David J. Kostin, a strategist for the investment firm Goldman Sachs, presented a report called “U.S. Hispanization: Long/short strategies.” It was an update of a 2004 report focusing on the Latino economic influence.
The report says that half of the population growth in this country between now and 2010 will be Latinos. By 2030 Latinos will be 20 percent of the total U.S. population, up from about 15 percent today.
Along with states that currently have large or concentrated Latino populations (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and New Jersey) the report cited Maryland and other states with rapidly growing Latino populations as good markets for advertising, marketing and investing.
“We estimate that the Hispanic populations in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland grew almost 7 percent per year from 2000 to 2007, the fastest rates in the country,” the report said. “The Hispanic populations in these states grew from a small base in 2000, but we expect continued rapid expansion, representing growth opportunities especially for small businesses in these states.”
In analyzing Bureau of Labor statistics, the firm found that Latinos spend differently than non-Latinos, perhaps due to lower incomes, larger families and a higher percentage of youths.
The study found Latinos spend more on housing, transportation, clothing and services and food. However, they spend less than non-Latinos on insurance and pensions, entertainment and health care.
Investors see market growth potential in areas where Latinos are spending less, such as in retail and entertainment.
As far as marketing financial services and investments to Latinos, the firm predicts growth in banking as more Latinos open bank accounts.
It cited Bank of America as target-marketing to Latinos. However, the firm suggests investing in small, regional banks in areas with high Latino populations.
The Goldman Sachs report says Latino growth is a significant demographic trend with social, political, economic and market influences that will last another 25 years.
“U.S. businesses across all industries have begun to focus on the rapidly growing Hispanic/Latino market through targeted advertising, spending and customized products. We believe the trend will continue,” the study said. “Firms taking the lead in these initiatives are likely to see their revenues grow faster than those of their competitors over the long term.”
Source: Community Times