Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in the U.S. Latino Market

Intriguing opportunities and challenges for smart marketers targeting America’s fast growing Latino population are becoming more apparent as researchers analyze population and language trends from the 2010 US Census and from more recent research by private organizations.

The Census showed that Spanish continues to be the predominant second language spoken in the United States. Some 37.6 million people aged 5 and over spoke Spanish at home even if they also spoke English “very well” or “well.”

More than 231 million of the total 295.1 million people in the 5 and over age group spoke only English at home. Spanish speakers were 62% of the 60.6 million people who spoke a language other than English at home. More than 56% of Spanish speakers said they spoke English “very well,” 18% spoke English “well,”  and 26% spoke “not well” or spoke no English at all.

What this means is that in Latino households the grandparents and mom and dad too speak English less well than young family members. Of Latinos age 15 to 19, 83% who spoke Spanish at home also said they speak English “very well” but nonetheless Spanish was the language of choice for the family at home.

Clues to this phenomenon can be seen in figures reported by the Pew Hispanic Research Center.  Among immigrant Latinos, a language gap exists between children and adults. Some 70% of immigrant children between ages 5 and 17 say they speak only English or speak English very well. But only 32% of immigrant adults say they speak only English or speak English very well.

Therefore, having a solid Hispanic Marketing strategy to tap into the growing purchasing power of this market is crucial. It is also critical to develop copy in their language of preference in order to create rapport and trust, engage them and help create loyalty for your brand or product.

When it comes to Spanish copy, marketers could choose to write original Marketing messages for Spanish-preferred target audiences or adapt existing English messages to their Latino audience. This second approach can be quicker and more cost-effective as long as you work with a translation provider that has solid expertise in translation from English to Spanish resulting in Spanish copy that reads natural and it is culturally relevant.  Sometimes, this receives the name of “transcreation”.

Of course, when writing in Spanish or translating from English to Spanish even geography should be taken into account. With that geographical diversity comes diversity among different Spanish-speaking groups. Households with a Mexican or Central American background in the West may use an everyday Spanish that is markedly different from Cuban, Dominican or Puerto Rican households in the East. They may have different cultural preferences too.  

The top 5 states with Hispanic populations in 2012, Pew found, were California with 14.1 million, Texas with 10 million, Florida with 4.5 million, New York with 3.6 million, and Illinois 2.1 million. Between 2000 and 2012, the five states with the fastest-growing Latino numbers were Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota.

The five states where Hispanics make up the biggest share of the population in 2012 were New Mexico (47%), California (38%), Texas (38%), Arizona (30%) and Nevada (27%).


Language Concepts Consulting is a boutique provider of multilingual translation services. Languages we translate from and into include: English, French, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese and many more. We partner with organizations looking to penetrate and/or serve the multicultural markets in the USA, and Latin America. We provide native-quality and culturally-sensitive translations that get our client’s message across and resonates with their target audience.

For more information, please give us a call at 480.626.2926 or visit us at

Kathy Paredes

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