Spending by Latinos in Arizona is on the rise. They are projected to spend $42.5 billion by the end of this year.
That's according to the 20th edition of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's "DATOS: The State of Arizona's Hispanic Market" report. It finds that Latinos spent $38.3 billion in 2014 and $32.4 billion in 2010. By 2019, Latinos are projected to spend $49.2 billion.
These numbers "demonstrate how valuable the Latino community is as a consumer," Monica Villalobos, vice president of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said as she laid out the report's findings during an event in Phoenix on Tuesday morning.
A key characteristic of Latino consumers, whom the report refers to as "Hispanic Super Consumers": they have longer life expectancies than any other population group in the United States. Latinos live on average 81.2 years, while non-Hispanic whites live 78.8 years and African Americans live 75.1 years.
"Simply stated, while the pool of Hispanic Super Consumers is growing fast, it seems they'll also be around longer than pretty much anyone else," the report notes.
In addition, the DATOS report shows that there has been an increase in the number of Arizona businesses owned by Latinos. Between 2007 and 2015, the number of Latino-owned businesses in the state more than doubled, from nearly 53,000 to about 123,000, and Hispanic women owned the majority of those businesses.
At the same time, the Latino population in Arizona has increased. Today, more than 2.1 million Latinos live in Arizona, and they make up 30.3 percent of the state's population.
Henry Cisneros, former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development, was one of the keynote speakers at Tuesday's event. He said the DATOS report is intended to get the attention of people like Gov. Doug Ducey, who attended the two-hour event and stayed until it was over.
"For him to sit through a presentation of Latinos talking about who we are and what we can do, what our role is, what our ambitious are, I think that's huge because he will have to — having heard the facts — take that into account as he makes decisions moving forward," Cisneros said.
The role Latinos will play in this year's election was also a topic of discussion during Tuesday's event. According to the DATOS report, as of February 2016 more than 625,000 Latinos in Arizona were registered to vote.
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That number is likely higher now because of the work of One Arizona, a coalition of more than a dozen community groups working to register Latinos to vote. The coalition surpassed its goal of registering 75,000 new Latino voters this year and is on track to register 120,000 before the November election.
Sol Trujillo, an international investor and one of the keynote speakers at Tuesday's event, said even though he thinks immigration is an important issue, he'd like to see candidates focus more on the economy when speaking about Latinos.
"I want them to talk to about how important Latinos are to the economy, how they are driving growth in the economy, how they are going to be and are the workforce of today and tomorrow," Trujillo said.
Click this link to view the DATOS 2016 report in its entirety.