Page 25 - Latino Boom II

Basic HTML Version

P o r t r a i t o f L a t i n o U . S . A .
3 7
What they were trying to get at was a more accurate breakdown
of Latinos by country of origin—based on self-reported responses—
and hoping to capture any preference for different “labels” that help
people identify themselves, like Chicano or Mexican American versus
just Mexican, so I applaud them for the effort. The census also added
“negro” to the classifications on the census, which had the black com-
munity up in arms and forced Director Robert Graves to issue an apol-
These are very touchy issues and, in fact, the idea that the census is
only interested in the country of origin of Hispanics also offended some
of my Anglo friends who thought their country of origin or heritage was
also important.
How the Hispanic origin question is asked is always highly debated
because nobody seems to be happy with the results. Of course, the only
thing that
matters here is race, because the decennial census is
used to allocate congressional apportionment, electoral votes and gov-
ernment program funding. Which is why how the question is asked is
just as important as how it is answered. But let’s not get political.
As we already discussed, for the past four decades, the census has
mainly been tracking Hispanics coming from three countries: Mexico,
Puerto Rico, and Cuba. All other Hispanics have been lumped together
into one group clumsily labeled “other Hispanics.” Not surprisingly, this
“other” group of Latinos has become increasingly important as it has
dramatically grown in size over the past two decades. In fact, today
“other Hispanics” represent the second largest subgroup of Latinos in
the United States. Unlike the other segments, this “other” group com-
prises people from many countries in Central and South America, so
it is hard to really even consider it a group. Nonetheless, the size of
the group is important to note, and depending on what city you are
doing business in, it is important to keep in mind the composition of
this “other” group (for example Colombians in Miami or Salvadorans
in L.A.) as they should be taken into consideration to insure that your
hyper-local efforts within the Hispanic market are successful.
Figure 3.5 shows you the current breakdown of Hispanics by coun-
try of origin. Figure 3.6 gives you more detail on the total population