The rapidly growing Hispanic community in Arizona is playing an increasing role in the economic and cultural life of the state, according to a study released Wednesday by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The report called "Datos 2009: Focus on Arizona's Hispanic Market" is released annually by the chamber and is compiled from publicly available information by graduate and undergraduate students at Arizona State University under the direction of Louis Olivas, vice president of education partnerships.
It includes the latest information on population, purchasing power, birth rates and other consumer and business trends.
According to the report, Arizona's 1.9 million Latinos accounted for about 30 percent of the state's total population in 2007, which ranks fourth highest among the states in terms of population percentage.
The Hispanic population is continuing to grow rapidly, especially in Maricopa County. Between 2000 and 2007 the country ranked second after Los Angeles County for the largest increase in Hispanic population. The majority - 63 percent - are U.S.-born.
The median age of Arizona Hispanics is 25 compared with 42 for the white non-Hispanic population. Median household income is $40,476 compared with $55,554 for the white non-Hispanic population.
The fertility rate for the Hispanic population considerably exceeds that for white non-Hispanics. In 2007 Hispanic births accounted for 25 percent of all births in the United States.
Teen pregnancy remains a major issue facing the Latino community. The birth rate for Hispanic teens fell 21 percent between 1991 and 2004, but it is still double the national average.
The median age of Hispanics in the U.S. was only 27.7 in 2008, compared with 36.8 for the total population. Nearly two-thirds of Hispanics are under 35.
The youth of the Hispanic community is reflected in Arizona classrooms. Hispanics accounted for 86 percent of total growth in the state's school enrollment from 1998 to 2008. According to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Hispanic high school graduates will exceed the number of white non-Hispanic graduates in Arizona by 2017-18. That phenomenon has already occurred in New Mexico and California, and Arizona will likely follow, the report said.
Although Hispanics constitute 30 percent of Arizona's population, they account for only 16 percent of the state's buying power. Still, that amounts to $31.1 billion, and their purchasing power is growing faster than the overall average, Olivas said.
In 2008 Hispanics accounted for 8.9 percent of all U.S. buying power, up from 5 percent in 1990. In total, U.S. Hispanics account for $951 billion in spending power nationwide, and by 2013 that figure is projected to reach $1.38 trillion.
Hispanic consumers have diverse attitudes. They tend to be particularly avid movie watchers, being responsible for buying 297 million movie tickets in the past year compared with 150 million tickets for blacks and 155 million for all other ethnicities combined, the report said.
In Arizona, store and brand preferences of Hispanics differ from those of white non-Hispanics. Hispanics are likely to purchase audio-video equipment at Kmart and clothing at Burlington Coat Factory and might look to the Internet for insurance and sports-event tickets.
Hispanics are embracing new media and technology at a striking rate, the report said. Sixty percent of 18- to 34-year-old Latinos and 76 percent of U.S.-born Latinos access the Internet. During a recent 12-month period, the average amount spent online by a Latino in Phoenix was $831.
Forty percent of Hispanics maintain profiles on sites such as MySpace, Facebook or MiGente, a sign of the high social connectedness among Latinos, the report said,
Cell phone use is notably high among Latinos. Specifically, Hispanic adults ages 18-34 use an average of 1,200 cell phone minutes per month compared with 950 minutes for the general population.
The Phoenix market ranks eighth in the nation for Spanish TV watching, according to Nielsen Media Research. The vast majority of Hispanic adults - 82 percent - also say they read Hispanic newspapers.
The data portray a Hispanic community that is "a powerful and dynamic consumer market with many layers of social, economic and cultural complexity," the report said. "This year's edition is full of demographic and consumer insights that suggest the Hispanic population's upward trajectory is too strong to be derailed by the current economic recession."