Is there a 4th generation of Hispanics?

photo credit: Victor L Antunez via photopin cc
photo credit: Victor L Antunez via photopin cc
I think Marketing is my new passion. As a journalist, I have been struggling to understand the Hispanic audience for years, and the other day, while attending a conference at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco I could put more pieces together.

Not that I solved the puzzle, but I could identify the layers Jake Beniflah, the Executive Director for the Center of Multicultural Science was talking about.

BabyCenter has been studying the acculturation process, the assimilation to the US culture of Hispanics living in the States, and I could fit this in Beniflah´s conference, merging language and culture.

But I still don´t know what to do with the born in US status that the Pew Hispanic uses to differentiate Hispanic generations in the US. How many layers can we separate?

  • Born in US from parents “not” born in US
  • Born in US from one parent born in US and the other parent “not” born in US
  • Born in US from both parents born in US

Can you be predominantly Spanish speaking if you are born in the US? (after the Pew, 5% of 3rd generation Hispanic children are not fluent in English) How many more subdivisions until you can be considered 100% American and how should the media approach this community?

Are there really differences between my daughter (who came to the US at age 5, and 13 years later speaks more English than Spanish) and my son (born in the US eight years ago, who does not want to speak Spanish but uses a little bit when “I insist”?

Moreover, is there a different level of acculturation between my daughter and her best friend who is her same age, Hispanic ascendant, born in the US to foreign born parents, grew in the same neighborhood and went to the same school -and is more bilingual than my daughter? I would think the only difference between them is their birth certificate.

“Yet there are differences” told me Beniflah after the conference. “Some people even mention if we should be talking about a fourth generation”, because the culture has deep layers that make them different from Americans at different levels, and those layers are strong enough to be considered from a marketing perspective. “Behavior is easier to change than values”.

Clarisse Céspedes

Journalist and Content Strategist. SEO, sponsorships and video. Follow me on Facebook and @ClarisseCespede.

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