What the slowdown in Mexican immigration means for the future of Hispanic marketing?

April 24, 2012

Posted by Jose Villa

According to an April 2012 report published by the Pew Hispanic Center entitled

” title=”Pew Hispanic Report – “Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero – and Maybe Less”" target=”_blank”>”Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero – and Perhaps Less”, net migration from Mexico to the U.S.

has been at zero, and perhaps less, since 2007. This was after 4 decades of positive net migration to the U.S. that

brought 12 million current immigrants to the U.S.

The Pew Hispanic Center report provides an in-depth review of the reasons for this marked drop, which include the weakened U.S. job market, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, and changing economic and demographic conditions in Mexico.

While the report does not try to forecast the future, it’s fairly safe to assume that the conditions that have led to this drop in immigration since 2007 will continue for at least the next few years. We are then looking at a potential and sustained 10 year drop in immigration by Mexicans to the U.S., not only the single largest group of Hispanic immigrants, but of U.S. immigrants overall.

As someone who works in the Hispanic marketing industry, this report and the likely sustained trend into the future got me thinking about the implications for the business of U.S. Hispanic marketing. This data points to a very different U.S. population in 2015 and beyond than we have seen from 1980-2010.

It’s unlikely that the U.S. Hispanic population will decrease anytime soon (by soon I mean the next 20 years), because demographic trends among the existing U.S. Hispanic population (higher birthrates, large youth cohort, etc) will negate any negative impact by negative net immigration. However, this negative net Mexican immigration trend points to

all sorts of scenarios that will change the U.S. Hispanic landscape in the 2 decades:

• U.S. born Hispanics will continue to grow as a percentage of the overall Hispanic population – further driving the importance of this more acculturated segment
• A relative decline in the percentage of Hispanics that are of Mexican descent – further diversifying the already diverse U.S. Hispanic population (this assumes sustained net immigration from other Latin American countries)
• Potential downward revisions for Hispanic populations estimates issued by the U.S. Census for 2020 and 2030 – it may take a lot longer to see Hispanics making up 25% of the U.S. population
• A decline in Mexican net immigration could lead to more mixed race marriages in the future – and a continued growth in the rapidly growing “2 or more” race segment in 10-20 years.

This trend is particularly ominous for the Spanish-language media industry. As net Latin American immigration to the U.S. decreases, they will start to see decrease in demand for their products in the next 5-10 years.

What do you think?