U.S. Hispanics optimistic, surprised by their own success: Zeno Group study

More than two-thirds of respondents were upbeat about their own communities and feel the American Dream is alive.

NEW YORK: Hispanic-Americans are surprised by their own success and overwhelmingly optimistic about their communities and the country, according to a study conducted by Zeno Group and sponsored by We Are All Human.

Claudia Romo Edelman, founder of We Are All Human presented the results of the survey at Chicago Ideas last Saturday. She said the survey highlighted the fact that Hispanics often do not appreciate the important role their community plays in the economic life of the U.S.

"That is my biggest insight," she said. "We don’t know our own power."

More than three-quarters of the survey’s respondents (77%) were surprised by the progress the Hispanic or Latino community has made in the U.S. Many were unaware that in the last decade, 86% of all new businesses in the U.S. were launched by Latinos, and that Latinos create businesses six times faster than any other U.S. ethnic group. The Hispanic high school dropout rate fell to 12% in 2014 from 32% in 2000.

After hearing the results, 61% of those surveyed said they felt more pride in their communities, and 82% thought the Latino culture in the U.S. should be valued more than it is. Despite their surprise at the good news, Hispanics are an upbeat group. Sixty-nine percent said they are  optimistic about the Hispanic or Latino community and 68% feel that the American Dream is still alive. Two-thirds (66%) believe voting counts; 62% think a Hispanic or Latino will be president in their lifetime; and 55% are confident about their employment prospects.

The study, conducted September 15-19, surveyed 2,579 U.S. Hispanics or Latinos ages 14 and up. Therese Caruso, MD of global strategy and insights at Zeno, added that the agency has been researching values and behaviors of people across generations and life stages for the past decade, and the study was an extension of its attempts to understand values and how brands can connect with consumers.

"The reason we focused this year on the U.S. Hispanic and Latino community is that this audience represents nearly 20% of the U.S. population and growing, as well as approximately $1.4 trillion in consumer spending-power and growing," she said. "Given their size and buying power, Hispanics in the U.S. are not understood or valued as much as they should be. This research gives us a unique view into their hopes and dreams, fears, and aspirations."

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