NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New research on US Hispanics from GfK’s KnowledgePanel Latino documents a shift away from traditional Hispanic culture towards Biculturalism. More and more US Hispanics are describing themselves as Bilingual, and they are adopting some US behaviors and attitudes – even while still holding on to key Hispanic values.
Click here to download a PDF with highlights from this research.
Patterns from previous waves of immigrants to the US suggested that today’s generations of US Hispanics would acculturate quickly. The GfK research shows no increase, however, in the proportion of Hispanics who identify themselves as “highly acculturated” – just 18%, the same figure as in 2009. By contrast, 55% of US Hispanics now consider themselves “Bicultural,” up from 43% five years ago. The group that is shrinking is the “less acculturated,” who showed a 12-point drop, from 37% in 2009 to 25% this year.
This trend toward Biculturalism may be related to the fact that more US Hispanics now say they were born in the US (43%) than in Mexico (37%); the two figures have essentially flipped from 2009 to 2014, with the proportion of those saying they were born outside of the US dropping by 11 points.
The new findings come from six years of profile surveys among participants in GfK’s KnowledgePanel Latino, the most representative source of information on the complete range of US Hispanics. KnowledgePanel Latino covers 93% of Hispanics of all acculturation levels – including English- and Spanish-dominant and Bilingual people. It also represents the 32% of Hispanics without internet access at home by providing those panelists with a computer and ISP.
Reflecting this move towards Biculturalism, the language mix in the US Hispanic home has also changed distinctly; the proportion of those who speak “more Spanish than English” has dropped from 30% to 21%, while the figures have risen for “both languages equally” (from 21% to 25%) and “more English than Spanish” (14% to 19%). Being monolingual (all English or all Spanish) is the exception for US Hispanic households; 81% speak at least some English in the home, while 85% speak at least some Spanish.
US Hispanics are also relating more to some “mainstream” US cultural values, such as being willing to give up family time to get ahead and rejecting fatalism. Over four in ten (41%) said they agree at least partly with the statement, “Being successful is important, even if I have to sacrifice time with family and friends”; this compares to 37% five years ago. In contrast, a full 86% believe that “it is important that Hispanic/Latino children learn about the Hispanic culture” – suggesting that Hispanic values and culture remain strong.
“This data clearly confirms what many in the Hispanic marketing space have been seeing – that the market is changing,” said Carlos Garcia, SVP of GfK’s Multicultural practice in North America. “The market is acculturating, and yet it remains distinctly Hispanic in taste and feel. Hispanics are not immune to the ebbs and flows of the economic and social tides; but even as they adapt, they are holding on to their food, their families, and their values. Out of this data, two key lessons for marketers emerge -- communicating to Hispanics can no longer be only in Spanish; and, conversely, more English-language communications are reaching Hispanics, and therefore need to be sending out a coordinated strategic message – even as it is fine-tuned culturally to reach diverse populations.”
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