Hispanic buying power to reach $348 billion, study says ATLANTA (AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — The buying power of U.S. Hispanic consumers is growing at three times the rate of inflation and is slowly gaining on black...

ATLANTA (AP) — The buying power of U.S. Hispanic consumers is growing at three times the rate of inflation and is slowly gaining on black purchasing power, according to a University of Georgia study released Wednesday.

Hispanic purchasing power — the total personal income available after taxes for spending on goods and services — will reach $348 billion this year, up from $325 billion last year, according to figures compiled by the school's Selig Center for Economic Growth.

It is up 65 percent since 1990, when it totaled $211 billion. During the same period, inflation was 23 percent, overall U.S. buying power grew 41 percent and black buying power grew 54 percent to $469 billion this year.

"The most surprising thing is the phenomenal rate of growth,'' center Director Jeff Humphreys said Wednesday. "It's growing at three times the rate of inflation.''

Americans claiming Hispanic ancestry make up about 11 percent of the population — 28.6 million people — and have 6.1 percent of the $5.7 trillion in total buying power, the study said. That is up from 5.2 percent in 1990.

"The black market is still much larger, but Hispanic clout is increasing. We have really two markets that are similar and growing much more rapidly than the overall market,'' said Humphreys, who published a study of black buying power in May.

Jose Nino, president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington, said the study "shows the Hispanic market is here and unless corporate America begins to actively cater to the market ... they're going to miss the market.''

Hispanic buying power is concentrated in just a few states, with more than two-thirds of it in California ($112 billion), Texas ($56 billion), New York ($35 billion) and Florida ($33 billion), the study found.

The states with the fastest growth in Hispanic buying power are Nevada, Tennessee, Iowa, Georgia, Utah, Oregon, Nebraska, Arkansas, Montana and Idaho.

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