US Hispanics in a Time of Pandemic

What’s True and What’s Not in Finances, Acculturation, and Digital Usage

About This Report
Hispanic consumers have endured exceptional financial volatility—mostly bad—during the pandemic. Even in normal times, this population is a moving target, with its diverse components evolving in financial strength, degrees of acculturation, and digital engagement.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Even in normal times, US Hispanics are a moving target for marketers—evolving in finances, acculturation, and digital engagement. And by all of these measures, there’s great variation among Hispanics. Amid the pandemic, the volatility and the variations are all the more important.

Have Hispanics’ finances been as badly damaged by the pandemic as anecdotal evidence suggests?

For many Hispanics, yes. A recent Census survey showed 24.1 million Hispanic households having lost employment income since March. Jobless numbers don’t tell the whole story, as millions who kept jobs have had hours and pay reduced.

So, have they been able to keep up with their bills?

Not necessarily. A couple surveys show about three in 10 having trouble covering rent or mortgage. “Food insecurity” is common. Part of the problem is that many went into the pandemic with scant savings. One survey found many would have trouble handling a $250 emergency.

What will their finances look like post-pandemic?

A return to normal will be welcome for some, but “normal” has meant below-average income and wealth. Federal data pegged average 2019 pretax income for Hispanic households at $64,577, vs. $82,852 for total households. Median net wealth was $36,200, vs. $121,700 for total households.

Does Spanish matter less—in marketing messages and life in general—as more Hispanics are US-born?

An increasing majority are proficient in English, and it’s the language of choice when online. But many who are fluent in English choose to speak Spanish at home. More broadly, Hispanic identity may be less central to daily life for those whose families are long settled in the US.

Are Hispanics an especially digital cohort?

They were early adopters of smartphones but no longer overindex for them. Reflecting the population’s youthful skew, they stand out as users of Snapchat and TikTok. They’re heavy users of digital video.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report looks at how the pandemic has affected Hispanics’ finances. It assesses the trajectory of language usage (Spanish vs. English) and the broader issue of acculturation. And it quantifies aspects of their digital usage.

KEY STAT: Hispanics born in the US—especially if their parents are also US-born—are far more likely than foreign-born Hispanics to identify as a “typical American.”

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. More a Mass of Markets than a Single Mass Market
  3. Auditing Hispanics’ Finances
  4. Assessing Language Usage and Acculturation
  1. Gauging Digital Activity
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Rohit Arora
Co-Founder and CEO
Interviewed November 24, 2020
Patricia Buckley
Deloitte Services LP
Managing Director, Economics
Interviewed December 2, 2020
Mario Carrasco
Co-Founder and Principal
Interviewed December 2, 2020
Ron Cohen
Vice President, Product Strategy
Interviewed November 24, 2020
Parker Morse
H Code
Founder and CEO
Interviewed November 25, 2020
Gabriel Soto
Edison Research
Director, Research
Interviewed November 25, 2020

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