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Curve Volume 6: CultureFirst

What’s New In This Issue

The Data

Brownish

The Inclusionaries

La Jefa

Otherland

TCK Rising

TCK Rising Profile: Blaxican

TCK Rising Profile: Transculturator 

TCK Rising Profile: ’Tweener

Recollectives

 

CultureFirst

A year after The Curve staff crossed the country to discover and identify the biggest trends impacting men, women, and millennials (The Curve, Volume 4: Americana Trilogy), we hit the road again—this time to explore the country through a Latino lens, in partnership with Telemundo. There has been a massive demographic shift in the past five decades—since the start of the millennial generation, the Hispanic population in the United States has grown nearly 285% to 56 million strong, and the number of people speaking Spanish has grown even more (300%). It is projected that the 2020 U.S. Census will report that the Hispanic population has increased by another 12%, accounting for 52% of total U.S. population growth, in just five short years.

Latino culture is at the root of some of the most meaningful macro movements shaping the country today. This statement may sound grandiose, but the influence of Hispanics is palpable: California dreamin’ now leans Latino. Hispanics have just surpassed whites in number in California, Senator Ted Cruz has become the first Hispanic candidate to win a state presidential caucus, and the debate about whether the term “Hispanic” refers to a race or an ethnicity is coming to a head—the United States Census Bureau is considering including “Hispanic” as a racial distinction on the 2020 survey.

But the Latino influence isn’t just visible in population shifts or popular culture, it’s also increasingly becoming part of the American psyche. As Isabelle, a 28-year-old white woman in San Antonio, put it: “Sometimes I wish I were Mexican. My Mexican interests grew so much growing up as a kid that I wrote an alter-ego essay about how my name could technically be Isabella.” Perhaps this is why, when asked in our survey what percentage of the country is Hispanic, Hispanic respondents estimated 42%, nearly three times their actual representation. In fact, every racial and ethnic group in America overestimated size of the Hispanic population in the country. The reason? Their influence outweighs their numbers.

To take a fresh look at how Latino culture is influencing broader American culture, we started with Hispanic strongholds New York, Texas, and Los Angeles, but then moved on to some of the most unexpected places in the country, including the Portlands of both Oregon and Maine, the racially integrated enclave of Oakland, California, the new Hispanic hotbeds in Denver and Charlotte, North Carolina, and Detroit, a former cultural hotbed that is being revived by Hispanics. The result is an exploration of diverse profiles within the Hispanic population—from Latina entrepreneurs to “transculturators” to bilingual yoga masters—that represent the macro movements taking root in America today. We hope this issue of The Curve (Volume 6: CultureFirst™), which is backed by an in-depth quantitative study, expert interviews, and hundreds of conversations with the folks we met along the way, brings America’s future into focus through a Latino lens and inspires brands and marketers to share the view.

Methodology

This issue of The Curve collects data, insights, and trends from the following sources: an online survey distributed among 1,500 18- to 49-year-olds (1,000 Hispanics of high, mid, and low acculturation levels, as defined by language preference, 500 non-Hispanics) in the fall of 2015; qualitative investigation, including a research road trip covering 20 markets with pit stops for 10 in-depth focus groups and ongoing online and in-person conversations with members of our FreeThink panel, a group of hand-selected, leading-edge, and diverse consumers; expert interviews with individuals in a variety of fields; and a continual scan of influential blogs, trend sites, and key industry events, from SXSW to Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech.

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