Latino Talk Around Chicago

I attended two events last week, the Latino Policy Forum’s annual breakfast, Latinos and the Changing Face of America, featuring keynote speaker Ray Suarez, and the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, 4th Annual Hispanic Scholarship Gala, featuring Elba Aranda-Suh, Executive Director of the National Latino Education Institute.  Interesting enough the events had a very common theme, the Latino population is large, is young, is not graduating at the rates similar to their counter parts and a competitive American requires educated, talented individuals with a minimum of a college degree to fill middle skilled and high skilled jobs.  Lastly, Hispanics are expected to represent 50% of the nation’s labor force in the next 20+ years.

So, if you put all these things together, plus the factor that the baby boom generation will eventually start retiring in “masses”. The future is represented by a bilingual/bicultural community that speaks Spanish and English or one or the other.  These are the individuals that are the driving force of products and services. Latino’s are hitting the advertising sweet spot, entering a stage of life when consumers ‘consume’ the most: buy cars, electronics, homes, insurance, etc.  So how do you engage them?  In Spanish, in English, in both languages? How do you reach the multigenerational homes consisting of active grandparents, parents, cousins, aunts?  All with a different view of the world given the varying degrees of Purple? The short answer is… strategically and the approach must go beyond language.


If you are curious, here are some quick facts on Hispanics in Illinois:

  • Latino are the second largest racial/ethnic group in Illinois, Caucasians being the first
  • Illinois Hispanics represent 16% of the population
  • Hispanics accounted for 121% of Illinois’ growth over the last decade
  • One in five suburban Chicago residents is Hispanic
  • Over 60% of Hispanics live outside of Chicago
  • Hispanics in Illinois represent $44 billion in purchasing power
  • Hispanics represent 14% of the state’s labor force
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