PROFILE: HISPANICS

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A Mexican is not a Puerto Rican is not a Cuban. The U.S. Hispanic market is the fastest-growing minority in the country-but not homogenous.

Numbers

The population has grown from 4 million in 1950 to 24.2 million in 1992, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By 2010, the bureau predicts, Hispanics will comprise the largest minority group, with an estimated population of 40.5 million.

Helping contribute to the segment's growth is its share of big families. According to the Census Bureau, 18% of Hispanic families in 1993 had three or more children. That's greater than the 12% for all U.S. families.

Not only is this group growing, it's young. In 1992, 48.3% of Hispanics, or 11.7 million people, were under age 25. By 2010, the Census Bureau predicts there will be 16.2 million Hispanics between 18 and 44.

U.S. Hispanics are expected to spend $206 million in 1995, according to market researcher Strategy Research Corp.

Psychographics

No broad brush paints a clear picture of U.S. Hispanics. Mexicans and Cubans don't follow the same political and cultural trends-and sometimes don't respond to the same ad message. This has made marketers wanting to use TV often resorting to market-by-market media buys.

Some 83.9% of Hispanics in the top 10 markets speak Spanish at home, so Spanish-language ads will be more effective-and received better-than ads in English.

Selling to them

How the car fits their lifestyles is an essential attribute, though marketers are divided on whether the car or the actors should be "the hero" of TV ads.

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