Hispanics lead record growth of minority populations

By Philippa Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United states

Hispanics, blacks, Asians and other minority populations now make
up one third of the US population, according to figures released by
the US Census Bureau, creating ever greater speciality markets for
the food industry to serve.

The US minority population reached 100.7m in July 2006, compared to 98.3m a year previously, said the Census Bureau. "About one in three US residents is a minority,"​ said Louis Kincannon, Census Bureau director. "To put this into perspective, there are more minorities in this country today than there were people in the United States in 1910. In fact, the minority population in the US is larger than the total population of all but 11 countries."​ This increase in the US minority population is yet further proof that the food industry should be concentrating a large part of its energy on developing products to serve this growing market. This is especially pertinent for the Hispanic market as this is largest minority group, with 44.3 million US residents in July 2006 - 14.8 percent of the total US population. The Hispanic population is also the fastest-growing minority group, boasting a 3.4 percent increase between July 2005 and July 2006. Not only is the Hispanic population increasing in size, but according to a recent report by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, it is also gaining in purchasing power. The Selig Center revealed that Hispanic purchasing power will reach $863.1bn this year, topping that of all minority groups and overtaking the African-American population. "The economic clout of Hispanics has risen from $212bn in 1990, when I first started doing this study, to $798bn this year and I expect it to be almost $1.2 trillion five years from now,"​ said Jeff Humphreys, director of the Selig Center. "That's more than 450 percent growth from 1990 to 2011. Non-Hispanic buying power is growing closer to a rate of 176 percent over the same period,"​ he added. California had the largest Hispanic population of any state with 13.1m citizens, followed by Texas (8.4 million) and Florida (3.6 million). Blacks were the second-largest minority group in the US, totaling 40.2m in 2006, and increasing by 1.3 percent, or 522,000, between 2005 and 2006. New York had the largest black population in 2006 with 3.5 million inhabitants, followed by Florida (3m) and Texas (2.9m). Asians were the third largest minority population in the US, according to the Census Bureau, with 14.9m residents, but were the second fastest-growing minority group, with a 3.2 percent population increase during the 2005-2006 period. Moreover, the Selig Center cited their projected buying power as second only to that of the Hispanics. This is forecast to grow 434 percent between 1990 and 2011, compared to the 457 percent gain for Hispanics. Indeed, according to Humphreys, Asian buying power is attaining critical mass in a growing number of states. In 2000, only six states had more than $10bn in Asian buying power. In 2006, 11 states had reached that benchmark, projected to increase to 14 states by 2011. California had the largest Asian population in 2006 (5m inhabitants), followed by New York (1.4 m) and Texas (882,000). Meanwhile, America Indians and Alaska Natives boasted 4.5m US residents in 2006, while there were 1 million Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders.

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