Welcome to our new website LatinClips which we hope will become your number one destination for all news, events and stories, entertainment, political and non-political as they pertain to Spain, Latin America and the Hispanic diaspora, notably as it exists in the United States of America. In the weeks and months to come we will be bringing you news of Hispanic and Latin achievements in a whole range of fields, from the more well known such as acting and performing and sporting, to those less well known but nonetheless deserving accomplishments from Latinos and Hispanics both in and out of the public eye. Much of the news we feature will emanate from Spain and from the United States.
The development of the influence of the Latin & Hispanic population throughout the world as we know it today is nothing short of fascinating and to truly understand the influence which today’s young Latin community has both on the United States and further afield, it is important to take a look at the development of the community which now makes up the most significant minority within the US. We hope, therefore you will bear with us as we examine, by way of a brief preamble to our new site, the road which has lead to the current success enjoyed by so many members of the Latin community, one which we feel sure is set to continue apace.
It is a notable fact that the Hispanic population in the United States has now reached the stage where it comprises the country’s largest minority. This should not be greeted as surprising news, as it represents a continuing and developing tend over some twenty five to thirty years, more than a generation. But is significance extends far beyond mere statistics because it means that the importance of the Hispanic/Latin population had to be recognised and taken into account in all aspects of the country’s policies, including educational financial and social affairs.
Where previously the Latin diaspora in the United States was almost disregarded – unrecognised even – the sheer weight of number and the growing confidence of the people meant this could no longer be the case and consequently politicians, financial institutions and other corporations sought to recognise the hidden value in such a substantial and largely untapped segment of society.
Once considered a sleeping giant, the Latino population has not only grown tremendously but also now constitutes a significant presence throughout most of the United States. Where previously most Hispanic families were to be found in just a few states in the country, now you will find Latino citizens throughout the land, particularly amidst the Southern states. And it is not just in physical terms that the population has been on the move, but economically too, as young Hispanics have expanded their horizons and moved into many new and emerging economic fields which their forefathers would not have had either the confidence or the qualifications to pursue. This new found social mobility combined with the relative youth of the developing Hispanic population, particularly compared with the non-Latin population, means they will have significant part to play in the future prospects of the world’s largest economy.
So what accounts for this rapid expansion of the Latin population with its consequent impact on the country’s social structure? Two main points can be identified, namely higher than usual rates of immigration, as a result of changes in US immigration rules and regulations, combined with high rates of fertility, perhaps related to religious considerations. These two factors combined have resulted in an increased, vibrant and youthful Hispanic population ready to tackle the challenges ahead in difficult and rapidly changing working environment
Just one example of the growing importance of the Latin population can be seen from its role during the most recent Presidential election campaign, where many observers feel that the Latin vote may have had a decisive impact on the eventual outcome.
And that is not likely to be a short-lived effect as the demographic diversity of the Hispanic population means that their voice is likely to be increasingly heard as the population expands further afield from the traditional “heartland” into new areas and as the immigrants obtain citizenship as well as their children in turn.
Perhaps unsurprisingly as the Latin population continues to grow, so it becomes increasingly diverse in terms of its country of origin. No longer are the majority of Hispanics in the US of Mexican origin – albeit that Mexicans make up the most substantial national group within the Latin diaspora in the country. Now the Hispanic community can trace its roots back much further afield. A generation back almost all Latinos in the United States originated from Mexico, Cuba or Puerto Rico, but now there are significant numbers of people who can trace their origins back to both Central and South America, as well as further afield including, of course, to Spain. This statistic is not simply one if general interest, because the vast majority of those immigrants from “new” areas are much younger than those who preceded them, and as a result have moved throughout the country in a way the previous generations did not, preferring instead to concentrate on a few small areas, especially for example in Miami.
As a general rule any increase in population growth comes about as a result of two factors - births and deaths, which is generally known as natural growth, and net migration, which is basically the difference in the number of people emigrating from, and those coming into, a country.The increase in size of the Latin population is in the main down to these two factors, the birth or fertility rate as well as the number of immigrants There is a tendency to imagine that the population growth among the Latin community is reliant almost totally on immigration, but statistics have demonstrated that higher-than-average Hispanic fertility now constitutes approximately fifty per cent of the increase in population within the United States.
For example, during the Nineties, almost fifty per cent of the increase in the Latin population was as a result of immigration, around thirty per cent was attributable to the birth rate among the immigrant community, while the rest came about as a result of the birth rate among U.S.-born Latinos. While the figure for immigration during this period is high, it is actually quite significantly down from the previous ten year period during which time immigration represented some fifty six per cent of population growth
By contrast the birth rate among the Hispanic community increased from around forty four per cent during the Eighties to over fifty per cent the following decade. However the most significant increase in birth rate can be seen in births to American-born Latino parents which amounted to almost a quarter of all births in the Nineties, up from only seventeen per cent the decade before, heralding what has been termed by some as the third generation of Latinos in the United States.
The number and socio economic details of the immigrant Hispanic population are in large part tied to financial and political considerations and the social groups that have made immigration an ongoing continuing process. When you consider Mexico and Puerto Rico, for instance, the flood of immigrants was started off as a result of a demand for new sources of labour, but as soon the process was established, economic considerations as well as social demands kept the process moving along apace. When you consider Cuba, however, you are basically talking about immigration triggered by political turmoil and unrest, rather than economic or social factors. Likewise, when you examine the situation as it pertains to the Dominican Republic you actually see both factors combining. Initially political unrest started things off, but thereafter social and economic problems became increasingly significant considerations. This is a process which is all-too-familiar in other places as well, including especially in a number of Central American countries. Lastly, in the example of South America, socio-economic considerations have had a significant bearing in immigration to the United States, although state sponsored violence in Colombia and Peru cannot be underestimated as a major contributor to emigration from those placesFor over one hundred years, Mexican immigration into the US United had two main charateristics: a proportion of immigrants that remained and an “exchange” of sorts between the two countries that was circular, in the main caused by the ease with which people could get across the border. A not-dissimilar situation could be observed in the case of Puerto Rico, whose citizens were able to travel to and from the States with surprising ease, helped by cheap flights and the fact that their movements were not subject to the normal restrictions which applied to non U.S. citizens. According to some experts in the field, each such journey, particularly among the large number of return migration, changes the factors which are used to determine later decisions, as a result increasing the opportunity of future migration.
Immigration from Mexico and Puerto Rico has advanced considerably through such social networks, although Puerto Rican immigration has slowed as the networks have already incorporated a large part of the eligible population in the immigration process. The other national groups are arguably at earlier stages.
Demographic, political, and economic factors in Latin America also help to account for the large increases in immigration from that region in the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1970s, many countries began birth control programs, as a demographic transition with continuing high fertility rates and decreasing mortality rates led to sharp population growth. The effects of Latin America’s baby boom began to be felt in the labor force, as new entrants to the labor force had increasing difficulty finding work and thus opted for migration abroad. At the same time, the 1970s and 1980s were turbulent political times, especially in Central America, where civil wars and other types of armed conflict generated intense emigration (Hamilton and Stoltz Chinchilla, 2001; Menjivar, 2000).
Finally, it is important to recognize the continuing attraction of the United States, as Latin American countries struggle economically. Practically all Latin American countries have suffered recurring economic crises, currency devaluation, and runaway inflation that have left millions of people in poverty, many of them from sectors of the middle class who seek to maintain a decent quality of life through migration. For people from these countries, as wel as from Spain, the Americam dream is still a huge attraction.
The part which young – and not so young – Latins play in world affairs is difficult to over-emphasise. In most walks of life, whether it is entertainment, sports or poltics, there are prominent – indeed pre-eminent Latinos plying their trade. Take Lionel Messi, for instance, the undisputed greatest footballer on the planet, arguably the greatest of all time, or movie stars of the calibre of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz, – regardless of the topic, members of the Latin community are making a bold statment and one which is set to contiue and expand, as younger members of the Hispanic community, no longer constrained by the traditions of old, go out to make their way in the world
And that is where we come in. In the weeks and months which follow we hope to bring you up to date with all the emerging news as it concerns the Latin community, both in the United States and around the world.
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