Hispanic population to become the majority
For years, different think tanks have concluded that Hispanics, whether from immigration or native born, are becoming the new majority.
First, the term Hispanic is used broadly. PEW research interchanges “Hispanic” and “Latino.” Associate director for Mexican American Studies Lorenzo Cano similarly links the terms.
“Hispanic and Latino are an umbrella,” Cano said.
In 2013, the Huffington Post and NBC News reported white Americans will no longer be a majority group by 2043. The Huffington Post said that by 2039, racial and ethnic minorities would be the majority, and by 2043, Hispanics will be the leading ethnic group.
Other figures concur. Pew Research Center states that by 2060, the Hispanic population will grow to 129 million. For context, in 1970 there were 9.1 million and in 2012 there were 53 million — currently, there are 54 million.
Mexican-American studies and sociology professor Luis Salinas spoke on Fox 26’s Hola Houston about the Latino’s rapidly changing social landscape.,
“There’s a new, developing segment of Hispanics that are unique,” Salinas said. “They are not like Hispanics or their white counterpart.”
This “hybrid” Salinas refers to tends to be better educated, younger and have more children. He draws similarities to the baby boomers. This segment is fluent, growing and has a prosperous future. While there are other segments of the Hispanic population who are not as successful, about 30 percent make up this tier.
“While they are assimilating, doing very well with the American dream, they have not given up the Mexican culture,” Salinas said.
Cano notes that even though there’s a significant population of Hispanics, there is still not enough awareness or acknowledgement academically or politically. Even though there are eligible voters, voter turnout is only at 31.2 percent of Hispanic voters — 14.2 million. There is a lack of proper representation. Cano compares America’s government to Europe’s.
While the population is growing, it still has at least two decades before approaching majority status. While there is still a growing mass in the job market, economically and socially, there is still a political minority. Voters have yet tapped into their potential due to lack of representation.
Cano said that the options America is given for representation are limited even at two, making America “only one better” than a dictatorship.
Immigration has stalled overall since 2010. The recession and border tightening was the cause, but it hasn’t stopped a recent influx of an estimate of more than 33,000 minors.
Hispanics have a large presence in the workforce, in 2013 49.7 percent of over 22 million employed Latinos were immigrants. Both have improving unemployment rates: immigrants had an unemployment rate rise to 6.5 percent in 2013 from 10.2 percent in 2009; the U.S. born was 9.5 percent in 2009 to 6.7 percent in 2013. However, the growth economically and socially comes from the native born.
Emily Rodriguez, senior education major and president of Mexican American Studies Student Organization, has seen the growth of bilingual studies on campus as well as in the area.
“The role of MASSO is to teach the culture a lot of people don’t understand,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez grew up in Cypress and learned Spanish and English simultaneously as a child. However, the language was denied in her schooling.
Bilingual Studies at UH have grown, too. According to Rodriguez, more professors and students are getting involved each year.
Cano concludes that there is a separation in cultural difference; he notes it is common for “third generations” to not speak Spanish.
“It is important to understand this group; its why we are in this predicament due to the large immigration and the schools still not knowing how to educate those of Mexican descent,” Cano said.