May 12, 2008

    Last week the U.S. Census Bureau released the latest Hispanic population estimates. What stood out is Hispanic population growth was overwhelmingly (62%) driven by natural increase and not net immigration in contrast with 2000 when natural increase and immigration were nearly equal.

The 2007 report showed that Hispanic births have steadily increased year-over-year, while at the same time Non-Hispanic births have shown significant declines. Hispanic childbirths are up 3% since 2000, while Non-Hispanic childbirths are down 20%. Also, Hispanic babies are now 24% of the nation’s total vs. 20% in 2000.

Hispanic growth from immigration has shown a trend of peaks and valleys. Immigration is currently down 30% from 2000. But of course, as we all know, immigration is highly dependent upon the political and economic situations of the countries of origin — as well as of the US. Tough border and undocumented employment policies in the US combined with slow construction and fewer overall jobs in the US and few jobs in Latin America…immigration is down from 787K in 2000 to only 546K in 2007.

So, what role does immigration play in this Latino Baby Boom? Latino parents, responsible for this BOOM, are both Foreign Born and US Born!

With childbirth outpacing net immigration, marketers have “Latina Moms” to think about when planning initiatives as well as a whole generation of young Latinos to cultivate!


Carlos, as the Census data suggest, immigration has and will continue to play a decreasing role in the Latino Baby Boom. Of course, this trend will only accelerate as more native born Latinas produce offspring in sheer greater numbers (due to their group size) than their non-native born Latina counterparts. The question for me is this: when are greater numbers of marketers going to start focusing more of their attention and efforts against the offspring of the aforementioned Latinas, and not just simply on the moms themselves? Those of us in the industry have long known that the influence of Latina moms is undoubtedly important, but we've also quickly recognized that household dynamics are changing and that Latino Youth are becoming a consumer force of their own. Their is no doubt that the Latino baby BOOM is here. But we have to be careful as an industry to not simply focus marketer's attention on moms when also trying to reach their kids. If we're not careful that BOOM might turn out to be a delayed ECHO.

Thank you Carlos for bringing this important demographic fact to the center stage. Yes, Latina Moms can bring brands the needed boost required in several categories. From cell phones to diapers, from home appliances to educational or entertainment software, these Latina Moms and Latino Dads will need to be wooed in Spanish and in English or in both languages simultaneously. With Hispanic babies having 24 percent of the total universe of babies in the country, many more brands and categories need to join the party and literally Pamper this market segment. Brands like Todobebe have recognized this phenomenon early in the game and have been savvy in expanding their cross platform touchpoints with Latina Moms through a variety of new offerings, the latest being the launch of their magazine which begins distribution this month. The timing of your blog could not be better --just on the heels of Mother's Day, the biggest holiday for Hallmark's Sinceramente range of cards (for the general market the biggest holiday is Valentine's day ) this demographic transition not only tells marketers that there is a huge potential in numbers, but also reminds us that spending priorities differ. And cultural fluency will drive growth in these tough times. Rupa Ranganathan, Multicultural Strategist

It must not get past us that Carlos is making two very valuable comments here: not just Hispanic growth due to birth, but the influence immigration in recent years has had on that particular growth trend (meaning those immigrant moms having babies). Bryan G's response to the point that THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE THAN just targeting the moms is equally of great significance! I know Carlos is not limiting his comments to just one segment, but I feel the need to reinforce the need to reach other Hispanic segments. Branding is key, no doubt...and these moms make for great branding opportunites and have long-term value. But to move product (and it varies by product and service), marketers also need to explore who has the ability to actually purchase TODAY. I pose the question: can immigrant moms afford the same level of spending as non-immigrant moms? And what about the many other segments of the family that influence that purchase (or even make it), like the grandparents (who control so much Hispanic purchasing power in the first place), older 50+ relatives, and younger Hispanics themselves as Bryan G says?! It seems to me that way too many marketers are targeting to much of the same Hispanic audience! My point, like what I think Bryan G. is saying, is that the Hispanic market is deeper than just Hispanic females 18-49. And with the many changes, evolutions, immigration issues and patterns, language and acculturation levels now involved, it is up to us as an industry to push marketers to cast their nets to a wider Hispanic audience. The time has come. We need to move fast because the trends move fast. As the recession (or whatever you want to call it) continues, we cannot allow that already small piece of the pie to get smaller. I feel some agencies settle for what they can get for fear of losing what little they have. But we have a good story to tell and with good folks like Carlos helping us tell it we can push forward. Roger Gonzalez Alliance Media & Communications.

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