What is an American Latino?

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The US Hispanic and Latino population segment is evolving as the growth of US born Hispanics takes its course.   Second, third and fourth generation Hispanics and Latinos are are on the rise and so is the ease of switching from one culture to another.   Assimilation and acculturation conditions may also diminish any divisive cultural barriers normally found within the foreign born Hispanic and Latino segment.  As a result, we are already experiencing a rise of an American Latino culture as more Hispanics and Latinos; regardless of what Latin American country of origin; view themselves as one group in the eyes of others, including non Hispanic and Latino contemporaries.

The American Latino breaks racial, ethnic, cultural and religious barriers to form one single voice as diverse as the so called Anglo and Latin American worlds.   He/ she is an emerging American who happens to retain strong moral and cultural values from his/ her ancestors.   For this reason, I believe that the perception of what it is to be Hispanic/ Latino today will change considerably in the next few decades.

Hispanics and Latinos Moving to the Internet

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According to comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, the U.S. Hispanic Internet market reached a record of 20.3 million visitors in February 2009, representing 11 percent of the total U.S. online market. During the past year, the growth of the U.S Hispanic Internet audience outpaced that of the total U.S. online population in terms of number of visitors, time spent and pages consumed, as Hispanic online adoption and engagement accelerated.

The U.S. Hispanic online audience growth to 20.3 million users also represents a year to year growth of 6 percent. Hispanic Internet users also exhibited a surge in online engagement, including strong increases in time spent and pages consumed. The total amount of time spent online by Hispanics increased 6.9 percent in 2009 (3.9 times faster than the total U.S. online population), while total pages consumed grew 6 percent (3.6 times faster than the total U.S. population).

According to the Hispanic Pew Institute, English dominant Hispanics lead Internet audience growth. Approximately 78% of English speaking Latinos and 76% of Bilingual Latinos use the Internet, compared to 32% of Spanish dominant Latinos, 67% non-Hispanic whites and 58% non-Hispanic Blacks. Furthermore, 89% of Hispanics who have a college degree, 70% who have completed high school and 31% who did not complete high school use the Internet.

According to Research and Markets, a market research resource, there are significant differences in how online Hispanics consume online media in contrast to non-Hispanics even when different demographics, online attitudes and behaviors are considered. Hispanic Internet users continue to look for content that is increasingly relevant and connects with their cultural aspirations.  Marketing successfully to online Hispanics/ Latinos requires marketers to understand the different segments of Hispanic consumers as it pertains to language, income, education, and levels of acculturation that are unique to this segment of the online population.

Hispanics and Latinos: Key to US Economic Growth

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The United States has slid behind in education, health care and economic growth to dangerous levels when compared to other developed countries.  All three of these core elements intertwine.  The Hispanic and Latino communities segments have been hit the hardest hit.

According to a study conducted by UNICEF, The US lags behind 17 countries including South Korea, Japan, Australia, Belgium, Hungary, Netherlands and Finland. Another prominent study, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, shows a steady decline in the performance of American students from grades 4 to 12 in comparison to their peers in other countries.

American Latinos are positioned to bring forth meaningful contributions to our society.  According to the Hispanic Pew Institute in Washington, D.C., Hispanics will represent 24% of the total US Hispanic population by the year 2050.  American Latinos have a distinct advantage of serving as multi-cultural agents capable of bridging the gap between two worlds and being susceptible to multi-cultural dynamics and diversity that exists in today’s economic global village.