By Sandra Bernardo
Bernardo PR

Many of you may have watched the recent report by Maria Shriver on NBC titled “A Woman’s Nation,” which addresses changes in our nation’s social and economic history due to the emergence of working women.

Now half of U.S. workers are female – and mothers have become the primary breadwinners in 4 out of 10 American families.  In fact, half of all families rely on the earnings of two parents and in more than 20 percent of all families a single mother is the primary breadwinner.

This is strongly due to the advances in education. Today, women now earn 60 percent of the college degrees awarded each year and half of doctorate and other professional degrees.

What is also contributing to this societal change and making a huge impact on the future of women overall is the growth of educated and affluent Hispanic women.

Latinas On The Move

More and more Latinas are joining the workforce, starting their own businesses, and having their say on what gets bought for the household, leaving old stereotypes of the stay-at-home housewife behind.

In 1970, just one-third of young female Hispanics were enrolled in school or college; by 2007, nearly half of young Latinas were pursuing schooling. The labor force participation of young Latinas has also grown during this time period, from 40 percent in 1970 to 54 percent in 2007.

As a result, from 2000 to 2007, the number of Hispanic women in high-level business and professional positions grew between 20 and 23 percent.

This group is also flourishing as entrepreneurs:

Businesses owned by Hispanic women have grown almost 125 percent in the last decade.  Currently, more than a third of Hispanic businesses are currently run by women.

Today, Hispanic women-owned companies employed 18.5 percent of the workers in all Hispanic-owned firms and generated 16.3 percent of the sales.

Latinas control 39 percent of the 1.4 million companies owned by minority women in the United States, which generate nearly $147 billion in sales.

Projections indicate this trend will continue unabated as Latinas have become the fastest growing small business owners in the U.S.

So what does this mean to marketers?

Affluent Segment

It is no surprise that Latinas’ success in education and the work force has catapulted them into the upper echelons of affluence among the population.  Thus, they are an attractive segment to target.

In 2007, based on Hispanic buying power of $860 billion, Latina women generated approximately one-third, or $284 billion. Latina women will have an estimated $330 billion in buying power by 2010. Cubans and Central/South Americans command the highest median household income.

These numbers will surely continue to increase as the population grows and because this segment is younger so there is more room to build wealth. Overall, the Hispanic population has an average age of 27.7 years compared with 36.8 years for the entire country.

Marketing to the Latina Mindset

As a “strong, independent” Latina myself I can tell you that marketing to me should include English – as I along with most Latinas are acculturated and assimilated, most often bilingual or English-dominant – but with Spanish references and cultural nuances that speak to my heart and soul.

I enjoy a wide range of products and resources but will often ask my mamá for opinions and feedback especially when it comes to products related to taking care of the household, healthcare, children, and beauty.

Some additional neutral insight for marketers into the Latina mindset:

– Latinas tend to be the “chief household officer” making all the decisions from finances to food. She has a new-found self-identity. She’s very ambitious, and wants to have more than her mother.
– Latinas from households with incomes over $50,000 are technically savvy, take pictures with a digital camera and down load music to an iPod.
– Latinas are optimistic and self-confident, describing themselves as “someone who can do it all.”
– Latinas tend to describe themselves as fashion-forward…keep up with beauty trends…prefer to use the latest products…tend to keep a wide assortment of beauty products in their homes.
– Latinas are brand loyal and in the kitchen tends to mix American and Hispanic recipes.
– Latinas honor and respect their mothers, giving them a special place in their lives.
– Latinas expend more in groceries, phone services, furniture, gas, clothing and footware.

For more information about this lucrative segment, a report recently was released titled “The New Latina in the United States 2009” by Research and Markets, a market research company (

President’s Commission on the Status of Women, American Women
Heather Boushey, “Women Still Primary Breadwinners” (Washington: Center for American Progress, 2009).
Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “Unemployment Among Single Mother Families,” IWPR Publication Ellen Galinsky, Kerstin Aumann and James T. Bond, “Times are Changing: Gender and Generation at Work and at Home” (New York: Family Work Institute, 2008), p. 8.
Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “Unemployment Among Single Mother Families,” IWPR Publication
Center for Women’s Business Research
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Census Current Population Survey 2006
Jerry Haar of Florida International University, “The Hispanic Wealthy: The Next Big Wave in Financial Services,”, Oct. 5, 2007
Latina Leading Voices
Multicultural Economy 2009, Selig Center for Economic Growth

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