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The Business Journal

Survey Shows Arizona Has Nation's Fastest Growing Hispanic Population

Ruben Hernandez

12 October 2004
Copyright © 2004 American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved. 

Arizona has the fastest growing Hispanic population in the nation, according to a report released Tuesday.

Arizona's percentage of Hispanics grew 12 percent from July 2000 to July 2002, according to DATOS 2004, an annual survey on the Hispanic market released by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Florida came in second with an 11 percent increase, and Illinois followed with 8.8 percent. Texas grew its Hispanic population by 8.3 percent, followed by New Jersey 8.1 percent, California 7.9 percent and New York 6.3 percent.

Arizona's growth is a trend that will impact the state's economic development in all sectors, according to Dr. Loui Olivas, an Arizona State University business professor who helped compile the report.

"Arizona businesses need to capture market share in this fast growth consumer area, because if they don't, their competitors will," he said.

Arizona ranks seventh in Hispanic buying power at $20 billion, which is up from $17.5 billion a year ago. California leads that pack with $189 billion in purchasing power.

Another trend the survey tracked is the rise of the second generation of Hispanic families in Arizona. The sons and daughters of recent immigrants, most of them from Mexico, are becoming bilingual and starting to raise their own families.

In addition, advertisers need to "culturally customize" their messages specifically to the Hispanic consumer they are targeting, the report says.

Rusty Foley, manager of corporate affairs Salt River Project, said her utility company has already begun diversifying its communications to Hispanic customers. SRP is using both English and Spanish, and tailoring newsletters and advertising to reach the first- and second-generation Hispanics.

"Because we are a utility company, we want to form long-term relationships with our customers; but to do that, we have to reach them in ways they understand," she said.

The DATOS 2004 annual survey of the Hispanic market is available from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The report was compiled by Dr. Olivas and ASU graduate students.

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