Latino Millennials a Diverse Group


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By Brian Woodman Jr.

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are loosely defined as those born from around 1980 to 2000. The Latino population in the United States has grown during this generation and Generation X, those born from 1965 to 1980. But who are these people?

Miguel Santos is one of them.

“The Latino population continues to increase in this country,” said Santos, a 35-year-old second-generation Dominican who lives in Newington. “We have many hard-working Latinos contributing to improve this economy and helping others less fortunate survive in this hard time.”

Santos, who works as a children’s service worker with the state Department of Children and Families, has also been involved with the sport of mixed martial arts for almost three years. He speaks Spanish, but not fluently.

He described his main areas of concern as the economy and education.

“My biggest problem with this economy is there are still a lot of people without jobs and prices for our everyday living necessity are still very high,” he said. “Families are still struggling to survive due to these circumstances.

He added that the minimum wage in Connecticut still needs to go up and that anyone who works should receive a standard-of-living increase.
“Education is probably my biggest concern,” he said. “I am so upset by the institutions in this country, and the price tag people pay to get educated. It is so difficult to receive a college education without going into debt.”
Former Plainville resident Joel Alphonse, who is also in this age group, noted the complexity in trying to define the millennial demographic.
“I think Latinos are a pretty diverse group,” said Alphonse, who is now an attorney and resides in New York. “It’s not clear to me that they will ever unite around a common party to the extent that African Americans have with the Democratic Party. For example, one of the issues I imagine Mexicans care most about is immigration. In contrast, Puerto Ricans likely do not care about immigration issues since Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S. Cubans, I’d suspect, care more about their relationship with Cuba and most I believe are in favor of continuing sanctions on Cuba. I don’t think that the resolution of any of these issues breaks down neatly along political party lines. It’s not as though, for example, all Republicans are anti-immigrant or all Democrats are pro-continuing the sanctions on Cuba. Hispanics from Spain in the U.S. likely have a far different agenda, if any, from the other groups.”
Research suggests Santos’ and Alphonse’s concerns and traits are shared by other Latino Millennials.
A Pew Research Center study, “Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change,” the percentage whites among the millennials is 60 percent and the population decreased by 11 percent since the baby boomer. The percentage of Hispanics in the general population increased from 13 percent among Generation X to 19 percent among Generation Y. Blacks increased fro 11 percent 14 percent and Asians remained at 5 percent between both generations., a website operated by the firm Target Latino, stated in a 2009 article “Characteristics of Hispanic Millenniels” that many of them prefer English as their primary language. The site also divides U.S. Latinos into two marketing groups; those born to immigrant parents and “traditional Latinos,” whose families have lived here for at least two generations.
Today’s young consumers shun direct overtures aimed at their ethnic background, and they tend to discard traditional cultural labels in favor of their own self-created monikers like Mexipino, Blaxican and China Latina,  the article states.

As a market, Millennials are shaking the foundations of advertising and media. Enabled by technology, their lifestyle is characterized by instant text messaging, mobile media and virtual social networking. Millennial Hispanics are 211 percent more likely to download content from the Internet than the general population. More than 60 percent of Hispanic Millennials are online.”