The Hispanic conversation today is complex and full of nuances to consider: country of origin, level of acculturation, language, geography, life stage, and economics just to name a few. But there’s one factor that is surfacing at the top because of its strong influence in all others, and that is gender. Hispanic females in the U.S., mostly known as Latinas, are now in the spotlight as drivers of the economic, educational and cultural evolution of this group, and its influence on American society. With that, it is worthwhile that we take a moment to understand a bit better the emerging Latina, and the implications of this trend in the consumer marketplace.
Latinas have become central players in the modern American family. According to Nielsen, today there are more Latinas under 45 years old (16% higher than non-Hispanic), and 63% of them have children under 18 years old. This means that Hispanic families have surpassed the proportion of non-Hispanic families, so we can say that in the U.S. now there are more multicultural families.
Hispanic women are becoming the dominant drivers in the consumption of Latino households. Since they are more educated and empowered than their male counterparts — with 73% enrolling in college — their role is quickly shifting from the more traditional caretaker to the multifaceted breadwinner. This is leading to an emerging profile of entrepreneurial and financially stable Latinas, and the numbers don’t lie: households with Latinas 18+ years old making $75K a year have increased up to 5% over the past 10 years.
The new generation of Latinas consider themselves equally Hispanic and American, a characteristic that has been labeled as ambicultural. What this means is that they are willing and able to completely function in both cultures. The new generation is also mostly part of the Millennial group with 42% of Millennial moms being Hispanic versus 39% white. This is an important point that adds dimension to our understanding of Latinas under the Millennial lens – sharing the same mindsets and behaviors.
As moms, Latinas just like their non-Hispanic counterparts are challenged with balancing work and family; but in this point there are important cultural factors to consider. Even though she is open to new methods, she still believes and maintains her traditional attitudes, especially true in cooking. For example, preparing meals and nurturing are one and the same for them. On the other hand, Latina moms are becoming more aware and educated on health issues, taking steps to manage those for herself and her family.
As the U.S. continues its shift towards a more multicultural reality, and this trend continues to impact the composition of American families, let’s do our best to understand this key decision-maker that is the Latina. Today’s American families’ needs, behaviors and values are reflected in one way or another in the Latina shopping basket, making them the dominant force behind the Hispanic market’s $1.2 trillion in annual buying power — a market that only continues to grow.
Source: Nielsen: Latina Power Shift 2013