Hispanics No Longer Need To Arrive With Hat In Hand

Multi-Billion dollar market seeks respect, recognition and acceptance

Al Vasquez / CEO Hispanic Image Marketing Network, Inc.

Forty percent of the U.S. population increase in the past ten years has come from the Hispanic population growth. The U.S. Census estimates 6% of the Hispanic population is undercounted due to illegal immigration. Conservatively adjusting 4% for the undercount, in the Coachella Valley, Hispanics now comprise 50% of the overall population.

With population figures ranging close to 40 million Hispanics in the United States comes another startling statistic. The purchasing power of Hispanics is in excess of $452 Billion dollars as of 2001. Here in the Coachella Valley, the purchasing power of Hispanic households is in the ONE and a HALF BILLION DOLLAR range.

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Coachella Valley has initiated this once weekly informational page to inform businesses and their customers of current trends in marketing. The businesses highlighted on these pages over the course of the coming years will represent vendors who understand the importance of the Hispanic Market and their buying power. Beyond that, they have demonstrated a commitment to extend a welcome to the largest growing economic segment in the Coachella Valley. These businesses join with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Coachella Valley to inform, educate, support and specifically invite you. We urge our readers to support those who in turn support us!! We will feature articles reflecting the Hispanic market intended to educate all of us on who we are and the powerful force we are becoming.


Since 1960, we have been studying numbers about Latinos, Hispanics, Mexican-Americans, Chicanos and all the differing terms that describe who we are here in the United States.

The term Hispanic is used to incorporate the twenty-subgroups representing our “Hispanic” culture. Hispanic is not a race, it is in fact a term used to incorporate ALL of US into an identifiable cultural group in the United States. There are races within the Hispanic grouping including, Black and Asian. There is also a significant number of persons with a Jewish ancestry who consider themselves Hispanic. Through research we know 63% of the 20 sub-groups in the United States prefer the term Hispanic while 20% generally would rather be called for what they are, ie. Columbian, Puerto Rican, Mexican, etc. and 17% have no particular preference.

The term and word Hispanic has evolved over the centuries. After the Second Punic Wars, the entire Iberian Peninsula came under the Roman Empire. Spain became a leading province of the Roman Empire. It was known as Hispania. Today it is recognized as Portugal and Spain. Voyages were launched from Hispania’s island port on the Iberian Peninsula, which took center stage in the 14th and 15th centuries being the launching site for voyages headed to the new world. This was a time when the earth was still generally regarded as being flat. Explorers would plant the flag on newly discovered continents a hemisphere away in the name of Hispania. Therefore, all discovered or conquered souls on the new found territories were Hispanios’. Ergo; Hispanics, centuries before the U.S. Census was given credit for inventing the word.

The following sub-group countries make up Hispanics in the United States: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela. The United States is comprised of immigrants from all of these countries. Largely due to the immediate proximity of Mexico, 58% of Hispanics in the United States come from Mexico while 42% do not.

Not all Hispanics are from the continent of Latin-America therefore the term Latin-American does not encompass all 20 sub-groups. Is it important? As an American, would you like to be identified as British simply because you speak English? Are there any compelling differences between Brits and Americans? Would you market to the British consumer the same as an American consumer?

Hispanic Image Marketing Network Inc., in Indio, the research firm associated with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Coachella Valley has been actively involved in the Hispanic community for 50 years, originating in Texas in 1955 and has participated with businesses in every major Hispanic community in the United States.

We have learned over a period of fifty years that incorporating the 20 sub groups we recognize as Hispanics requires a working knowledge of all the sub group differences and few questions have straightforward answers. Many questions regarding Hispanics have a caveat of “it all depends;” as part of the answer. For that reason, businesses looking to expand their market to the Hispanic community are strongly advised to seek at least a minimum level of consulting.

The Hispanic demographic make-up of East-Coachella Valley residents is not the same as those in the West-Coachella Valley. The West Coachella Valley has a much larger concentration of non-Mexican heritage Hispanic households. The Cinco de Mayo means nothing to the non Mexican heritage 42% of the Hispanic population. However, they do love the party time it brings to the community. As author Ricardo Lopez, states, “ trying to predict Latino consumer behavior based on non-Hispanic market information is a recipe for disaster.”

When you decide to get serious about a multi-billion dollar market in your own back-yard, call the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Coachella Valley for more information at 342-7511.

Editors note: Al Vasquez is a former National Executive Director of LULAC ( League of United Latin American Citizens) with half a million members, founded in 1928.Former National Deputy Director of SER a national job training program and currently serves as a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’ Transition Team.