Most people in the U.S. know by now that Latinos represent the fastest growing minority group in the country. Sadly though, not everyone has embraced the fact that we as a population have the potential to be a powerful force socially, economically and politically. The thing is, it’s time to start asserting ourselves, and we have the numbers to prove it.
Nielsen’s most recent Hispanic Consumer Report reveals that Hispanics -particularly the 11 million who are 50 and older and make up 10 percent of the U.S. population- are healthier, growing wealthier and are more influential within their families than their non-Hispanic counterparts.
The study showed that Hispanics have lower mortality rates in 7 out of 10 of the leading causes of death in the U.S., generally live healthier more active lifestyles and have a greater life expectancy than non-Hispanic Whites (83.5 years versus 78.7). Not only that, but Latinos in this age bracket are more likely to in multigenerational homes and have a greater influence on buying and watching decisions within their family units than non-Hispanics. Which is particularly significant since Hispanics have experienced a significant rise in income (including disposable income) over the past decade, with a vastly increased number of households led by Hispanic baby boomers earning more than $75,000, higher numbers earning more than $50,000 annually, and fewer than ever before earning less than $50,000. And these stats are all projected to remain on the rise as the Hispanic population continues to increase over the next several decades.
What exactly does that mean? What it means that Latinos over 50 have the potential to make significant political impact. The highest percentages of Hispanics in this age group live in California, Texas, Florida and New York, states that account for a significant percentage of electoral votes. Not only that, but political matter to us–particularly when it comes to key issues like education, healthcare, employment and immigration.
Now that we’re armed with this information, the important thing is to make it work in our favor, and the only way to do that is to show up. Attend town meetings, send in your census forms, make calls to your senators, and most of all show up at the voting booth -well informed, for elections big and small. Because our hard work and that of generations past is finally paying off, because we are finally in a position to promote real change for our children and grandchildren- show up because you can and because you know that your voice can make a difference. No matter how small a single action may seem to you, the more often an elected official sees Latino representation, the more he’ll come to understand the importance of our population. You have clout, you have influence- get out there and rock it.