By Rosario Diaz
Anywhere you go, the influence of 83.1 million millennials is evident. Millennials are behind the creation of many of today’s widely used apps such as Airbnb and Uber; and social media, once considered to be useful only for feeding into “millennial vanity,” is now a standard in any marketing campaign. But a large portion of this growth of influence can be attributed to the high number of young Hispanics that make up that population. These Nuevo Latinos, who make up 1 out of 5 people in the millennial demographic, have contributed to nearly every aspect of present day culture, from dominating social media as the highest in smart phone users to having a tight hold on purchasing power when it comes to television and tech products.
Even while coming from immigrant parents, many from this generation of Hispanics have fully embraced that go-getter value of American entrepreneurship and incorporated that into the Millennial movement. They do, however, separate themselves from non-Hispanic millennials in that this generation chooses to practice, alongside standard American values, the traditional and cultural values taught to them from a Latino upbringing. Values such as the following:
Growing up, many Hispanic millennials have been taught that family is important, and this still holds true for them today. In a study conducted by Tr3s, findings show that Hispanic Millennials consider “true blood” or “me, my closest family, my kids and MAYBE my romantic partner” to matter the most to them, rather than close friends and distant relatives—a fact vastly different from many non-Hispanic millennials who demonstrate a stronger tendency toward maintaining an active social network of friends. Their findings have also shown that, for activities like shopping or watching movies, sports, and television shows, young Hispanics choose to sit with their families over watching by themselves or with their friends.
Further evidence that shows how Hispanic Millennials cherish the value of family is apparent in the trust that they have in their familial relations. In contrast to typical millennial fashion, who show more reliance on apps and online reviews when it comes to choosing products and services, surveys reveal that Hispanic millennials will take their parents’ advice on such things into strong consideration.
Lastly, and one of the most significant reasons as to why young Latinos place so much value toward Latinos is that many of them have held the responsibilities as translators to their parents and older relatives, in their youth, and have helped facilitate them into American culture. As a result, this forms a necessary dependence between parent and child, and one that often establishes a closer relationship between the two.
Food has always been a very central part of Hispanic culture. The very presence of it is considered a must-have for every occasion, be it a religious event to a celebration, and of course to any reunion of friends and family. No matter what the reason, food is important in almost every facet of life and this belief is one that has certainly not escaped the mindset of Hispanic millennials. Food is just as important in present day life as it was in their upbringing. In fact, studies by Media Post show that 60 percent of Hispanic millennials proudly consider themselves “foodies”—a very millennial-esque label that is often used to describe those who indulge in both social media and in trying foods both new and traditional. More significantly, however, research has found that Hispanic millennials think of food not just as something to satiate oneself with, but as a means to connect back to their cultural roots. It certainly correlates with other findings from the study, including the fact that 80 percent of those who were surveyed say they often refer to recipes when it comes to food and 56 percent of them say they use recipes given to them from their families. And when it comes to their preferred place to shop, 61 percent in the study have, at least once in the past year, chosen to shop at a Hispanic supermarket to purchase their groceries.
Presently, there are about three quarters of Hispanic millennials in the U.S. who speak only English at home, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, the number of Hispanic millennials who speak Spanish at home is declining, but it’s not because it’s undervalued. A significant number of U.S.-born Hispanic millennials were raised by Spanish speaking parents, which means that while they were learning and speaking English in school and exposed to it in the media, they were simultaneously communicating in Spanish at home. What this created was a unique and dual type of perspective not apparent in non-Hispanics—where English was taught outside the home through school, television, Internet, etc. and Spanish was practiced at home. As a result of simple practicality, this generation of Hispanic millennials has become the first in the United States to choose to speak in English as their primary language, despite being able to partially or fully speak in Spanish.
That doesn’t, however, mean that they have let go of the language entirely. Many Hispanics grew up hearing their parents and older relatives emphasize the importance of speaking in Spanish and those talks may have left a mark. In a recent study conducted by the Hispanic Millennial Project, 47 percent of U.S.-born Latinos report watching or streaming Spanish television shows, while the larger of younger Latinos show an equal preference to watching English and Spanish television. The active decision to watch shows in Spanish, despite actively communicating in English, demonstrates a desire of Hispanic Millennials to retain the language they grew up with, a remnant of the culture their relatives were raised in.