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Luis Salgado

Hispanics in the United States – The majority minority

- Hispanics today represent a demographic and economic force unmatched by minorities.

Hispanics in the United States – The majority minority

Divide et impera, the strategic foundation of the ancient Roman empire is by no means alien to the American elite. In fact, such a political and economic group is highly learned in the application of such a principle. Proof of this is found in the lack of leadership of the most powerful minority in the United States: Hispanics.

Coming from member countries of Hispanoamerica, Hispanics today represent a demographic and economic force unmatched by any other minorities in the United States. Such a position has earned it the nickname of the "minority majority" within analysis circles.

No wonder, according to the Pew Research Center, in 2017 Hispanics represented 18% (59 million) of the total population of the United States. Perhaps a fifth does not sound like a force majeure, but when analyzing the situation from a purely economic perspective, the situation changes radically. If US Hispanics were their own nation, they would have the seventh largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world, at $2.13 trillion, according to a 2017 Donor Collaborative report. This it is a GDP greater than that of India, Brazil and Italy.

Hispanics and the US economy

The Hispanic population is growing at a higher rate than the total population, thanks to natural increases and strong immigration. The population is also increasingly better educated, relatively young (35% under 18) and has increased business activity. As of 2017, 4.37 million businesses were owned by the Hispanic population in the US. Together, they contributed more than $700 billion to the economy, according to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Additionally, Latino entrepreneurs are starting companies 50 times faster than any other demographic. In the last decade alone, Hispanics launched 86% of all new businesses registered in the United States, according to a Forbes press release. Added to this, 70% of the growth of the labor force in the United States is made up of the Hispanic population that joins this economic group. Various predictions suggest that by 2030 the country's labor force will be fully balanced between Hispanic and non-Hispanic.

Identity as a brake on economic and political representation

Everyone faces challenges starting new businesses, and the biggest of these is access to capital. A survey conducted by Stanford University revealed that 70% of the funds of Hispanic entrepreneurs came from personal savings.

By comparison, non-Hispanic business owners had to use the same financing method only 60% of the time. In terms of credit, only 6% of the Hispanic population received loan funds from commercial banks, practically half compared to the 11% of non-Hispanics. Still, Hispanic-owned businesses have grown 31.6% since 2012, more than double the growth rate of all businesses in the United States (13.8%).In the United States, New Mexico is the state where Hispanics have the greatest presence percentage wise. They are followed by the states of Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Colorado. The latter with a Hispanic population of 21%. In the map located below we find the results of the 2016 federal elections, which allows us to understand grosso modo not only the political strength of this demographic group, but also the perception of it.

Electoral College map showing 2016 election results. Gage / CC BY-SA

Of the states listed on the first map, only New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Colorado achieved a Democratic Party victory. Which has maintained as a banner in its political campaigns an approach to demographic minorities, among them, naturally, Hispanics. Of the states with a high Hispanic population that gave their vote to the Republican party, we find Texas, Arizona and Florida. In other words, 3 of the 7 states with a large Hispanic population gave their vote to a party whose principles have been transversally opposed to Hispanic identity.

It is true that the analysis of the so-called Latino vote and Hispanic vote in the elections requires a larger space than the one presented in this article. However, it should be mentioned that one of the reasons behind this electoral phenomenon, which seems to be rather an anomaly, is rooted in the strategy mentioned at the beginning of this article: divide and conquer. The US political machine has spent years making use of different guidelines that aim to alienate Hispanic groups in favor of a "white" identity that flows parallel to the corporatist and consummalist interests of American capitalist society. Proof of this is found in language.

Where although Spanish is the cloak that shelters a group as large as it is diverse among themselves, English is actually the language that predominates and that methodically excludes Spanish as a unitary symbol of this demographic group. Additionally, the sale of the "American dream" to Hispanics is a highly profitable business, since in this group there is a poverty level of 24%, more than double the national average of 11%.

Without a doubt, Hispanics as a demographic group have always been at the center of various heated debates. And how not to be, if we talk about a sociological phenomenon whose significance exceeds the barriers of the United States, mainly in terms of economy and society. It would be logical to bet on an increase in the political relevance of this group in the United States given its constant growth. However, demographic trends seem to be victims of an event whose existence went unnoticed by statisticians: the return of the Mexican population.

For the first time in the history of US-Mexican relations, the migratory influx is actually from north to south. With this migratory reversal, new adjustments have to be made to the old statistical models to anticipate future repercussions. Even more so in the middle of 2020, where every day more countries begin to reduce their natural increase, or failing that, begin a zero growth rate. In addition to the above, it is necessary to gauge the possible weight of a Republican re-election with Donald Trump. The current POTUS has maintained a mostly conservative discourse, whose tangents fall on illegal immigrants and, in turn, on the Hispanic population given the social stigma that prevails in "white America." In the meantime, it is possible to expect a continuation of the status quo and it will be necessary to wait even for a decade to be able to witness the uprising of the Hispanic population or, rather, the beginning of its decline.


    Robert H. Holden; Rina Villars (2012). Contemporary Latin America: 1970 to the Present. John Wiley & Sons.

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Salgado, Luis. “Hispanos en Estados Unidos – La minoría mayoría.” CEMERI, 11 oct. 2022,