by Claudia “Havi” Goffan
Winner of the Publisher’s Multicultural Award Category: Best Multicultural Awareness Article
What is life like in America for Hispanic Americans? What are their thoughts and concerns about family, employment, education, religion, opportunities, and healthcare? We asked Claudia Goffan, founder of Target Latino, an Atlanta based marketing and consulting firm specializing in the Hispanic market, to provide “The College World Reporter” readers with her own views from inside Hispanic America. Here is our interview:
Q.Could you give us an inside look at Hispanic or Latino life?
A. To fully understand the Hispanic market, you need to analyze it by country of origin, level of acculturation, age, sex, marital status and educational level. Although some generalizations can be made, they have to be understood as such and not as an answer to comprehending the culture.
Let’s talk about some of the generalizations about the Hispanic culture. The very first one that comes to mind is about family being the first priority, the children are celebrated and sheltered and the wife usually fulfills a domestic role. Hispanics have a long Roman Catholic tradition and this usually implies quite a fatalistic outlook where destiny is in the hands of God. Latin American educational system is based on emphasis on the theoretical, memorization and a rigid and very broad curriculum. It follows the French schooling system and it translates into people who are generalists and look at the big picture as opposed to specialists, like in the U.S. Hispanics are highly nationalistic, very proud of long history and traditions.
Hispanics have difficulty separating work and personal relationships and are sensitive to differences of opinion. Hispanics fear loss of face, especially publicly and shun confrontation, where truth is tempered by the need for diplomacy. Title and position are more important than money in the eyes of Hispanic society. Etiquette and manners are seen as a measure of breeding and it follows an “old world” formality. Dress and grooming are status symbols whereas in the U.S. appearance is secondary to performance. The aesthetic side of life is important even at work.
Q. Tell us about the purchasing power of the U.S. Hispanics?
A. According to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth in 2004 the nation’s largest minority group controlled $686 billion in spending. The community’s purchasing power comprises the world’s ninth biggest economy and it’s larger than the GNP of Brazil, Spain or Mexico. Hispanic purchasing power is projected to reach as much as $1 trillion by next year (2010) being the main drivers of the surge in Hispanic consumer influence the increasing education levels, labor force composition, household characteristics and accumulation of wealth. The fastest-growing occupational categories for Hispanics are higher paying managerial and professional jobs.
Q. What about Hispanics’ Healthcare Access?
A. I will quote a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center that indicates that six-in-ten Hispanic adults living in the United States who are neither citizens nor legal permanent residents lack health insurance. According to this same study, the share of uninsured among this group (60%) is much higher than the share of uninsured among Latino adults who are legal permanent residents or citizens (28%), or among the adult population of the United States (17%). Hispanic adults who are neither citizens nor legal permanent residents tend to be younger and healthier than the adult U.S. population and are less likely than other groups to have a regular health care provider. Just 57% say there is a place they usually go when they are sick or need advice about their health, compared with 76% of Latino adults who are citizens or legal permanent residents and 83% of the adult U.S. population.
Overall, four-in-ten (41%) non-citizen, non-legal permanent resident Hispanics state that their usual provider is a community clinic or health center. These centers are designed primarily as “safety nets” for vulnerable populations and are funded by a variety of sources, including the federal government, state governments and private foundations, as well as reimbursements from patients, based upon a sliding scale (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008).
The study also reports that some 37% of Latino adults who are neither citizens nor legal permanent <continue reading>