The Pew Research Center is reporting that in 2016, 11.9% of eligible voters in the U.S. (27.3 million people) will be Hispanic—and 44% of them will be Millennials. According to Pew, this is a group that has been continually growing— in 2012, only 37% of eligible Hispanic voters were Millennials.
Anyone who wishes to reach out and sway the behavior of this sizable group of potential game-changers needs to know who they are, where they come from, what their tastes are, and what other kinds of influence they wield.
So, what is known for sure about this segment? They are avid users of technology, over-indexing on activities like text messaging, mobile media usage, and social media messaging. Writing for Target Latino, blogger Claudia “Havi” Goffan states that more than 60% of Hispanic Millennials are online, and that “Millennial Hispanics are 211% more likely to download content from the Internet than the general population.” These young Latinos embrace elements of their Hispanic culture, but they tend to adopt “American” and even international customs as their own. Goffan continues:
“Millennial choices in popular culture are drawn from a broad pool of influences, and anything can be customized and suited to one’s personal preferences—just as easily as an iPod playlist. Likewise, the aesthetics of Millennial fashion, movies, and video games increasingly reflect a broad range of influences—from Japanese anime to East L.A. graffiti art.
Today’s young consumers shun direct overtures aimed at appealing to their ethnic background and they tend to discard traditional cultural labels in favor of their own self-created monikers like “Mexipino, “Blaxican,” “China Latina.”
This flexibility has made it very difficult for marketers to approach Hispanic Millennials when seeking to interest them in goods and services, not to mention in swaying their opinions as members of the electorate.
Latino Millennials who are already U.S. citizens are more likely to be the children and descendants of immigrants than to be immigrants themselves. Goffan states that “88 percent of second generation Hispanics and 94 percent of third generation Hispanics are highly English fluent (speak “very well”). Many second generation Hispanics tend to be bilingual, but English dominates by the third generation.” These people want to be addressed in English; attempts to approach them in Spanish can be seen as condescending.
In conclusion, it is evident that Latino Millennials, the 12 million U.S. Hispanics citizens born since the 1980’s who are now old enough to vote, need to be approached actively, addressed appropriately, and nurtured enthusiastically. Lizet Ocampo may have said it best in her piece for americanprogress.org, “Top Six Facts on the Latino Vote”:
“Not only are Latinos already a growing segment of the electorate, but tremendous potential also exists for Latinos to gain much more political power in 2016 and beyond. Elected officials and candidates from both sides of the aisle would benefit from understanding this electoral and political power and the Latino community’s vision for what constitutes a more perfect union.”