The Hispanic population reached a new high of 55.4 million in 2014 (or 17.4% of the total U.S. population), an increase of 1.2 million (2.1%) from the year before. However, that 2.1% rate continues a trend of slower growth that began in 2010.
Hispanic population growth had peaked earlier, in the 1990s. From 1995 to 2000, annual average growth was 4.8%, and growth has declined since then. From 2010 to 2014, the annual average growth had dropped to 2.2%. Part of the reason for this decline in population growth is the slowdown in immigration from Latin America, and in particular, from Mexico.
The Census Bureau's annual population estimates detail the nation's demographics in a variety of categories, including race and ethnicity, geography, and age. For example, the county with the highest Hispanic population by far is Los Angeles County in California (4.9 million), followed by Harris County in Texas (1.9 million) and Miami-Dade County in Florida (1.8 million).
Hispanic populations are not necessarily growing everywhere. From 2010 to 2014, the Hispanic population declined in 11 counties that have Hispanic populations of 10,000 or more, located in Alabama (Jefferson), Arizona (Santa Cruz), Florida (Hardee), Georgia (Clayton and DeKalb), New Mexico (Rio Arriba, San Juan, and San Miguel) and Texas (Duval, Hale and Willacy). The biggest decline came in DeKalb County in suburban Atlanta, where the Hispanic population was 64,279 in 2014, down 4% from 2010.
The data showed no change in ranking among the states with the highest Hispanic populations. California still leads the list (15.0 million), followed by Texas (10.4 million) and Florida (4.8 million). Together, these three states account for more than half (55%) the Hispanic population. But their share is down from 58% in 2000, reflecting a wider dispersion of the nation's Hispanic population over the past decade and a half.
In addition, the new Census Bureau estimates show that Hispanics, with a median age of 29 years, are younger than most other racial or ethnic groups. By comparison, the median age for non-Hispanic blacks is 34; it's 43 for non-Hispanic whites and 36 for Asians. But Hispanics are growing older: In 2010, the group's median age was 27, up from 26 in 2000.
Source: Pew Research Center, Hispanic population reaches record 55 million, but growth has cooled by Jens Manuel Krogstad and Mark Hugo Lopez, June 25, 2015.
Economic factors remain an obstacle for enrollment, however. In a 2014 National Journal poll, 66% of Hispanics who got a job or entered the military directly after high school cited the need to help support their family as a reason for not enrolling in college, compared with 39% of whites.
Here are five facts about Latinos and education:
- Over the past decade, the Hispanic high school dropout rate has dropped dramatically. The rate has reached a record low, dropping from 32% in 2000 to 14% in 2013 among those ages 18 to 24 years old. Over the same time period, this has helped lower the U.S. national dropout rate from 12% to 7% – also a record low. However, the Hispanic dropout rate remains higher than it is among blacks (8%), whites (5%) and Asians (4%).
- Hispanics are making big inroads in college enrollment. The number of Hispanics ages 18 to 24 enrolled in a two- or four-year college has more than tripled since 1993. In 2013, 2.2 million Hispanics were enrolled in college, up from 728,000 in 1993 – a 201% increase. By comparison, college enrollment increased by 78% among blacks and 14% among whites over the same time period. Today, Hispanics are the largest minority group on U.S. college campuses.
- Even though more Hispanics are getting a postsecondary education than ever before, Hispanics still lag other groups in obtaining a four-year degree. In 2013, among Hispanics ages 25 to 29, just 15% of Hispanics have a bachelor's degree or higher. By comparison, among the same age group, about 40% of whites have a bachelor's degree or higher (as do 20% of blacks and 60% of Asians). This gap is due in part to the fact that Hispanics are less likely than some other groups to enroll in a four-year college, attend an academically selective college and enroll full-time.
- Another reason Hispanics lag in bachelor's degrees is that nearly half who go to college attend a public two-year school, the highest share of any race or ethnicity. By comparison, among college-goers, 30% of whites, 32% of Asians and 34% of blacks go to a community college.
- Hispanics are significantly less likely than other groups to have student debt. About 22% of young Hispanic households (those headed by someone younger than 40) have education loans. The share is nearly twice as high among young white households (42%) and young black households (40%). This is because, despite growing college enrollment, young Hispanics are not as likely to go to college as some other groups. And among those who do, Hispanics are more likely than others to attend community colleges, which generally have lower tuition than four-year schools.
Source: Pew Research Center, 5 facts about Latinos and education, by Jens Manuel Krogstad, May 26, 2015.
With the growth in the number of bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics in the United States, search marketing cannot simply be a matter of translation. Even someone who is very comfortable in English may switch to Spanish for some searches, according to Gonzalo del Fa, president of GroupM Multicultural.
"Even though digital overall has been growing extremely fast against Hispanics, I still feel search is not there yet and … the biggest barrier is language," he says.
More evidence for the importance of getting the language question right: A recent survey by One Hour Translation found that more than 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a website written in their native language.
The most common mistake marketers make, according to Lior Libman, president of One Hour Translation, is assuming that a simple translation is enough. He says marketers often think, "If a campaign is working in English, I'll hire a translator, and it's good to go." Especially in search, where a tiny difference in wording can result in huge changes in clicks, copy should be fine-tuned and tested by local, native speakers.
The translators need to understand the objective of each keyword, as well, according to del Fa. He points out that there can be many more keywords in Spanish that can express a single product or idea. "Think about 'furniture,'" he says. "In Spanish, we have five ways of saying it. Often, with search campaigns, the client comes in with 50 keywords, and when we put it into Spanish, it becomes 120."
Localization involves more than translation, as Doug Platts, iCrossing's head of SEO, points out. He says that translators should not only be local to the campaign, they should also "be on top of what the trends in that culture are."
Nuance becomes even more important when marketing products that have more emotion attached to them, such as insurance, finance or healthcare. "I don't want to make a mistake in those cases," del Fa says.
But it's even more complicated! Many Hispanics switch between English and Spanish when searching. In a July, 2014, blog post, Lisa Gevelber, Google's vice president of Americas marketing, pointed to a Google consumer survey that found that the majority of U.S. Hispanic mobile users typically search in English or a mix of English and Spanish. At the same time, the number of Google searches that included common Spanish-language question words had nearly doubled since 2011.
Del Fa says that 65 percent of Hispanics know how to search for something in English; if they don't find what they're looking for, they switch to Spanish.
Landing the deal
Finessing the language doesn't stop with the search campaign: How marketers handle landing pages is equally important. According to research by GroupM, the majority of consumers who consider themselves bilingual can operate at work in English but are more comfortable speaking Spanish in their personal lives – including while using search.
In the best of all possible searches, someone who searched for a Spanish keyword would get results leading to pages that were in Spanish and appropriate for his or her region. In the real world, every site can't offer all its pages in English and Spanish. At iCrossing, the advice is to build some core landing pages at the product or service level.
Another good practice, according to del Fa, is to deliver search results in the language in which the landing page is written. "If results are in Spanish, but clicking on one takes them to a website that is not in-language, it will throw the person off," he says.
If it's not possible to create a landing page in Spanish, he advises that it's better to return English-language search results for an in-Spanish search. "If the results are in English, I know the page will be in English, so it's not an issue," he says.
In global campaigns, Spanish-language landing pages need to be localized, as well as the search campaigns themselves, Platts advises. Using hreflang tags to denote the correct regional URL in search results ensures that searchers find what they need. "We don't like to create a Spanish page and that will cover everybody," Platts says. He also notes that paid search paid is an excellent way to test whether a larger digital campaign should be launched in English or Spanish, before a brand invests larger assets.
Finally, search marketers need to remember that language is a tactic, not a strategy, del Fa says. "Let's put a strategy together. Then, when we are down the road planning the tactics, then language will kick in."
Source: Published originally on PortadaOnline.com as The Language of Search: Getting It Right, by Susan Kuchinskas, May 21, 2015.
Despite attaining higher education levels in recent decades, many Latinos find themselves in a "fragile financial state," according to the study released Monday by the TIAA-CREF Institute, the research arm of the New York investment giant.
The report draws on data from the vast 2012 National Financial Capability Study, a national survey of 25,000 American adults, and examines in detail the personal finances of 1,553 respondents who described themselves as Hispanic and reported at least some college education.
"[W]hile growing in economic importance, Hispanics are set apart from the general U.S. population by gaps in wealth and income, as well as less integration with traditional financial institutions, differences that were only exacerbated by the 2008-2009 recession," the report said. "Such disparities affect even college-educated Hispanics, a growing sub-group."
The study, done in collaboration with Global Financial Literacy Center at George Washington University, adds to a growing body of research on the troubled state of Latino finances, including among the college educated, in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. Among all U.S. ethnic groups, Latinos were the hardest hit by the crisis and subsequent Great Recession, researchers have found.
Earlier research cited by the TIAA-CREF study shows that from 2005 to 2009, Latino household wealth fell 66%, compared with 53% for African American and 16% for white households.
Unemployment among Latinos doubled from 2007 to 2011, and the poverty rate rose six percentage points from 2006 to 2010, both increasing faster than any other ethnic group, the study said.
The TIAA-CREF survey found that 59% of respondents said they have trouble covering monthly expenses.
It also found that more than half of respondents said they were unable to save at all, and 20% said they spent more than their income over the past year. One third of respondents said they spent as much as their income.
Homeownership among Latino households trails the broader population, with only 53% reporting owning a home compared to 71% for whites, according to the survey.
Illustrating both a cause and symptom of Latino financial difficulties, half of the respondents reported engaging in expensive credit-card practices that can run up interest charges and fees, including paying the minimum monthly balance only, using a card for a cash advance or incurring a late fee.
Source: Originally published on The Los Angeles Times as 59% of college-educated Latinos have trouble meeting monthly expenses, report says, byDean Starkman, May 18, 2015.
“I never really questioned the fact that I was going to go to college. I didn't really think there were other options.”
For Gaby Díaz Quiñones '17, the idea of attending college was always assumed and influenced a great deal by her mother's completion of a bachelor's degree, she told the HPR. Díaz Quiñones's circumstance—being a Latina in college with a mother who also went to college—may not seem out of the ordinary now. However, it is distinctly at odds with the realities facing Latinas several decades ago.
The story of the rise in Latina college enrollment rates is one that encompasses both the struggles of women and Hispanics generally to attend college. Latinas have benefited from American society's acceptance of women attending college as well as from shifting cultural norms within the Latino community. In more recent times, Hispanic women have also benefitted from the dismantling of barriers that have held back all Hispanics. The result has been a significant improvement in college enrollment rates.
On March 8, 1968, educational reformer Sal Castro led thousands of Latino and Latina students belonging to a handful of East Los Angeles public schools to walk out of class in protest of the unfair conditions hindering them from reaching their goals of attending college. These students demanded a restructuring of the public education system so that they could take college preparatory classes. Following these walkouts, reforms were initiated to place more Latinos on the college track. The walkouts proved to be a crucial first step in the movement to promote college education for Latinos as whole.
As America broadly opened up to the idea of women attending college, so did many Latino families. In 1976, women made up 47.25 percent of students in undergraduate programs across the nation. Hispanic women trailed slightly, making up 45.36 percent of all Hispanics in undergraduate programs. Only four years later, in 1980, the percentage of women had surpassed the percentage of men enrolled in undergraduate programs. The Latina/Latino ratio also flipped. The trend has persisted; data from 2013 indicates that women make up 56.51 percent of those enrolled in undergraduate programs, with Hispanic women representing 57.73 percent of all Hispanics in undergraduate programs. The comparison is striking. In the face of greater cultural obstacles, Latina women, after accounting for ethnicity, now matriculate at a proportion greater than their non-Hispanic peers.
Not only has the ratio of women to men in college improved for Hispanic women, the absolute percentage of women that are Hispanic and enrolled in college has risen substantially. In 1980, Hispanic women constituted 4.1 percent of all women enrolled in college undergraduate programs at a time when Hispanics made up 6.4 percent of the U.S. population. Just over three decades later, in 2013, Hispanic women constituted 17.2 percent of all women enrolled in college undergraduate programs. Seeing as Hispanics constituted 17 percent of the nation's total population in 2013, this percentage indicates that Hispanic women have made impressive gains in college enrollment.
As the data above suggests, women have, for the past several decades, broken past the stereotypes that once put them behind men in terms of college enrollment. However, to say that Latina enrollment has risen simply because Latinas followed the national trend for women in general would be to overlook several key aspects in their progress and challenges that they still face.
Many of the factors that have raised Latina college enrollment have raised the overall Latino rate of college enrollment. Among the contributing factors, the role of lingual assimilation is still a highly debated topic. Some argue that the use of Spanish at home inhibits students from doing well in an English-based educational system. Others argue that bilingualism actually expands the lingual abilities of students and helps them perform better in school. Numerous studies have noted that children of all ethnicities have better educational outcomes when their parents promote literacy with them at young ages, through such activities as reading out loud or visiting libraries. A National Center for Biotechnology Information report found that Latino parents who spoke English at home were more likely to participate in these literacy activities with their children. However, children who were read to in Spanish were later able to employ the reading techniques they learned when reading in English. This casts doubt as to whether the use of the Spanish language at home is an inhibiting factor.
Claims that using Spanish in the household inhibit the ability of children to do well in school may be confounded with other variables. Latino families that speak Spanish at home are more likely to be recent immigrants, have lower levels of education and income, and/or live in disadvantaged communities with lower resources. These factors may play a larger role in influencing the educational success of Latinos and Latinas. According to one Pew Research Center study, 18 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics 25 years of age or older have obtained a college degree, whereas only 10.6 percent of foreign-born Hispanics 25 years of age or older have obtained a college degree. The gap may be attributed to the fact that native-born Hispanics may have a better cultural understanding of the United States and may be better able to navigate the educational system of the United States. Furthermore, the U.S.-born children of immigrants often tend to outperform their parents in terms of average income level, another significant factor in educational attainment. Altogether, these data indicate that the educational attainment of Hispanics will continue to improve as future generations of Hispanics continue the process of assimilation and build upon the success of their predecessors.
Another possible contributing factor to the educational success of children is parent-teacher communication. Harvard Professor María Luisa Parra studied such communication during her time at Tufts University. Dr. Parra told the HPR that as coordinator of a program that aided and analyzed Latino families transitioning their children into kindergarten called the Home-School Connection Program, “The main factor that I saw playing as a key to success for these children was the relationship between parents and teachers. Some of the parents and teachers could communicate in English, but there were some underlying cultural values and beliefs about education that were getting in the way of that communication.” Thus, there is an inherently important role to be played by the common understanding between parents and teachers of educational paths and goals.
Reaching Higher Ed
The financial resources of Latino parents have significant effects on their ability to support their children in their educational pursuits. Households with higher incomes tend to have more educated parents. This in turn means that parents from higher-income households may be better able to help their children navigate the educational system and college application process. Importantly, income level may play a role in how optimistically parents promote the idea of going to college. As Vanessa Cárdenas of the Center for American Progress told the HPR, “The financial aspect of [college] is a huge barrier . . . and even once people get into college, making sure you're not worried from semester to semester whether you can afford it [is another potential barrier].” Díaz Quiñones admitted to facing this challenge, noting that, “something that was really important to me was going somewhere that could fully cover my financial need. When I was making my list of colleges, a lot of them I took out just because they only offered 80 percent financial need.” Díaz Quiñones' story is just one of many highlighting how the lack of college affordability can be a deterrent to college enrollment. However, the steady rise in Latino and Latina college enrollment rates indicates that more Latinos and Latinas are being placed on the path to higher-paying jobs. This in turn will aid them in one day supporting their children in their educational pursuits.
Even if Latino families are able to overcome financial barriers and support their children in their educational pursuits, a myriad other obstacles face Latinos and Latinas once they enter college. As Cárdenas mentioned, “Figuring out how to succeed in college, having the support network, and figuring out the college culture” are all challenges that college students face. These obstacles are even further magnified for those Latinos and Latinas that are first-generation college students, as these students often lack the same guidance and support that non first-generation students receive from their parents. The struggle of adjusting to the college culture has contributed to a push at many colleges, including Harvard, to set up support networks and mentorship programs for Latinos and Latinas. While these programs help bridge the gap between enrollment and graduation, according to one study, only 41 percent of Latino students graduated within 150 percent of program time for first-time, full-time freshmen, as compared to 50 percent of all students.
While Hispanics in general face a number of barriers to college entrance and graduation, perhaps the most distinct barrier Latinas have specifically encountered is the barrier presented by cultural beliefs. Decades ago, many traditional Hispanic families believed that women should stay at home and act as homemakers until finding a husband. In contrast, the idea of leaving home to stay at a residential college was often seen as a “dangerous” idea to traditional Latino families. At best, some Latinas were able to attend junior college because it offered them the opportunity to still live at home. While it is true that more Hispanics are now attending colleges with four-year bachelors programs, research has shown that Hispanic students are still more likely to enroll in associate-level college programs that are located close their families. Furthermore, studies have shown that Hispanics in general prefer to live at home while attending college as compared to students of other ethnicities. These reports indicate that while cultural barriers have been lowered, some Latinas still face pressures to stay close to their families. However, as the aforementioned data suggests, the gradual lowering of this cultural barrier has already had significant effects on improving Latina college enrollment rates. This steady rise in Latina college enrollment rates is promising, yet at the moment only 13.9 percent of all U.S. Hispanics age 25 or older can attest to being college graduates. Thus, while Hispanics, especially female Hispanics, have made impressive gains in terms of college enrollment and graduation rates, much remains to be done if more Latinos and Latinas are to attain college degrees.