“We’re seeing a demographic revolution that is fundamentally changing the history of the U.S.,” said Nielsen’s vice president of consumer engagement.
Unprecedented issues impacting Latino communities in the United States have risen over the last several years — from political turmoiland sluggish hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico to a mass shooting in El Paso targeting Mexican-Americans and Mexicans and immigration issues such as massive ICE raids, the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA and family separations at the Southern border.
“Our communities are going through some very trying times,” Stacie de Armas, vice president of strategic initiatives and consumer engagement at Nielsen, told NBC News.
Top data firm Nielsen found that U.S. Latinos have been able to harness their growing economic, social and political clout amid tough times, according to a new report obtained by NBC News.
De Armas hopes the findings, which will be publicly released on Monday, serve as a contemporary roadmap for companies, educators, policymakers, business people and others seeking to understand Latino consumers’ purchasing habits in order to effectively serve the needs of a population that accounts for nearly a fifth of the nation’s population.
“We’re seeing a demographic revolution that is fundamentally changing the history of the U.S.,” said de Armas. “We are the future and the growth engine of this country.”
In the report, Nielsen uses the term Latinx as a gender-neutral, inclusive alternative to “Latino.”
“The decision is a nod toward greater inclusion of women, LGBTQ+ and nonbinary Hispanics and the popularity of the term in social media and academic writing,” Nielsen said.
Economic growth by the numbers
The Latinx population’s purchasing power is expected to top $1.9 trillion by 2023, which is higher than the gross domestic product of countries such as Australia, Spain and Mexico, according to Nielsen.
The growth comes at a time when Latinx consumers, who are part of the nation’s youngest minority group with a median age of 28 — compared to 38 in the general population —quickly approach their peak earning years — accounting for 75 percent of all U.S. labor force growth over the last 6 years.
About 60 million Hispanics are living in the U.S. and Census projects that the nation’s Latinx population will increase to 109 million in the next 40 years.
Latinx political awakening, a rise in voters
Latinx voter turnout reached 11.7 million in 2018, up from 6.8 million in 2014, the single largest increase on record from one midterm election to another, according to the report.
Nielsen, which is a 2020 Census Official Partner working to ensure an accurate Census count, found that immigration issues as well as health care and the possible inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census have motivated many young Latinos to become registered voters.
“The civic implications of an inaccurate count are well known. However, a census count that doesn’t adequately represent Latinx consumers — one of the primary future growth engines for the U.S. — impacts businesses,” said Lillian Rodríguez López, co-chair of Nielsen’s Hispanic and Latinx Advisory Council, in a statement.
Census measurements are the foundation for $90 billion in advertising transactions and also informs decision-making processes across the nation’s biggest retailers that cost over $1 trillion, added Rodríguez López.
“Every business in America makes decisions based on Census,” said de Armas. “This is important because we pride ourselves [Nielsen] in siding with the truth.”
In 2014, 18 percent of Hispanics (27 percent of those eligible) voted in the midterm election, in comparison to 39 percent of the total population. In the 2018 elections, 29 percent of Hispanics (40 percent of those eligible) voted versus 49 percent of the total population.
“We often hear that Latinos don’t show up,” said de Armas. “The challenge we’ve had is not ‘showing up.’ Registration is the challenge, because once we are registered, we show up.”
The largest increase was among voters ages 18 to 24. In 2014, 10 percent of this age group voted in elections. That percentage more than doubled in 2018, reaching 23 percent.