The Latina power shift — and nonprofits

Any major trend affecting our lives is inevitably going to have an impact on the nonprofit sector in one form or another, and Rich TIPS strives to help nonprofit leaders appreciate and better respond to broader trends that directly and indirectly influence how our organizations operate, raise money, and serve communities. Thus we wanted to share some insights from a newly published report, “Latina Power Shift,” a project of Nielsen’s Hispanic/Latino Advisory Council.

Nielsen is of course the global information and measurement company known for its consumer data, as well as television and other media measurement. Their full report can be downloaded at With a focus toward commercial marketplace behavior, Nielsen draws no specific conclusions in its research regarding philanthropy or volunteering, although the implications to nonprofits of the rising force of the Latina are not difficult to define.

Here are a few thoughts:

1. Financial decision-making. According to Nielsen, 86% of U.S. Latinas are leading their household’s decisions on financial matters.

2. Income and influence. As of August 2013, the U.S. Hispanic market overall represents an estimated $1.2 trillion in annual buying power.

3. Population. The percentage of the U.S. female population that is Hispanic is projected to grow from 17% in 2015 to 23% in 2035 and 30% by 2060.

4. But not Boomers. The population growth of Latinas is less significant with age. For example, in 2013 younger Latinas, ages 25-34, represent 16% of the U.S. female population of all ages. The picture is dramatically different for ages 55-74 as a subset of the total female U.S. population—just 11% are Latina and twice as many (22%) are not. Meanwhile, in age groups 0-9 and 10-17, Latinas outnumber non-Latinas in healthy margins, particularly at the young end.

5. Infants and children. Almost a quarter (23%) of all U.S. births in 2011 were to a Latina mom. Latinas in 63% of Hispanic families have children under age 18 compared to just 40% for non-Hispanic white females.

6. New market segment? These young Latina moms bring cultural tastes, experiences and expectations that are markedly different from their older Latina moms and non-Latina peers. In addition to a unique cultural background, these young adults are experiencing a series of “firsts” in terms of education, income and confidence that has them crossing into new territory for marketplace behavior.

7. Education. For the first time, Latinas have exceeded non-Latina females in college enrollment. A record 73% of Latina high school graduates are enrolling in college, 11 percentage points ahead of Hispanic males (62%) and one percentage point higher than non-Latina females (72%).

8. Unusually strong use of social media. Latinas are adopting and adapting all types of technology at a higher pace than the whole of U.S. females. In significant instances, Latinas are outpacing society overall in using technology for culturally-centered social networking.

9. Target Latinas for events and donors. Buying categories that male decision-makers dominate in Latino households include electronics and automobile/transport; more to the interest of nonprofit fundraisers, it is Latinas who drive “social activities” (45% female decision-making, 52% both genders jointly, and just 3% male decision-making).

10. The desire to be “ambicultural.” Do not assume that Latinas will (or want to) assimilate; two languages and two cultures are better than one. 87% of adult Latinas consider themselves to be equally Latino and American, and wish to remain so in the future. Language is a fundamental cultural maintenance behavior, so making a conscious choice to hold onto Spanish in combination with English enhances Latinas’ ability to integrate into different social and professional scenarios, heightening their marketability in the workforce.

From the report’s conclusion, “It is inevitable that Latinas will strongly influence the U.S. new mainstream with their upward trajectory and growing impact on the future of families, media, technology and commerce. The same female-led traditions and matriarchal roles that are revered and prioritized as central to Hispanic culture and values—hard work, familism, femininity, determination, resilience, and optimism—are being used by Latinas to leave their imprint on American society Latina’s thriving social networks, facility with technology, and hunger for information will bolster their innate abilities to navigate the complexities of living between two cultures, even as they build new bridges to others around them. Marketers who properly grasp the significance of this market will be the first to gain Latinas’ trust and benefit from all that they have to offer, now and long into the future.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *