Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15, giving business journalists ample time to focus business features on consumers, business owners, workers and investors in the local Hispanic communities.
According to this (PDF) U.S. Census Bureau briefing paper from May 2011, about 50 million of the 308 million Americans counted in the 2010 census identified themselves as Hispanic. And the Hispanic population represented more than half of the total growth in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010, the bureau reported. The Census Bureau’s “Hispanic Origin” portal gives additional information including a definition of the term, and of course not long ago the bureau reported that Hispanic-owned businesses are proliferating at double the average rate.
For additional demographic data and issues coverage, don’t miss the Pew Hispanic Center by the Pew Research Center. It includes state and county data sets on the Hispanic population among a wealth of other resources.
Business and entrepreneur profiles would be a lively and informative way to mark the month. HispanicBusiness.com, a publishing company, is an excellent resource. For example, you can scan its list of the 100 Fastest-growing Hispanic companies and perhaps turn up some likely subjects in your area. LatinBusinessToday is another interesting online resource.
The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and member groups at the state level can likely connect you with companies, and of course as lobbying groups are a source of information on legislation of interest to Hispanic business owners. Many other professional and business groups are out there; Google for the niche that interest you, like the National Hispanic Business Women Association or the Hispanic IT Executive Council, which advances the Hispanic role in the information technology sector.
Marketing and consumers. It’s no surprise that a young, burgeoning demographic is of interest to makers of consumer goods and the companies that help sell them, from cars to clothing to Cocoa Puffs. Any manufacturer in your region is fair game for questions about how they are tailoring their products and their message for Hispanic consumers. Unilever, for example, operates the Vive Meijor (“Live better”) website and e-newsletter aimed at Spanish-speaking consumers.
This AdAge Hispanic portal is a font of industry news and story ideas; who knew that Clorox, for example, was developing a product line to be marketed only in Spanish. And don’t miss this AdWeek article, “The truth about Hispanic consumers,” which includes some important caveats about characterizing the Hispanic market, which is very diverse.
And be sure to check out Hispanicize, which bills itself as “the leading social media resource for Hispanic marketers and influencers.”
Also, in terms of marketing or serving the Hispanic community, you might do a career or workplace story about what employers are seeking in your region in terms of language ability. Do bilingual nurses, for example, have a special edge in the hiring arena? In what other jobs is the ability to speak Spanish or other languages becoming a must for would-be workers? How is demand faring for specialty courses, such as Spanish for medical professsionals? Are employers reimbursing staff willing to take them?
How are Hispanic workers faring? Here’s a Bureau of Labor Statistics report on “The Latino Labor Force in the Recovery” with some interesting background about employment rates, educational attainment and average wages. And of course the monthly BLS Employment Situation report due out today breaks out an unemployment rate for Hispanic people as well. Check with your workforce commission about challenges for Hispanic workers, any programs aimed at helping them, and other trends in employment for this group.