A subtle shift is taking place. I’m referring, of course, to the news that Asians will eventually overtake Latinos as the largest source of immigration.
Yes, recent data shows that fifty years from now, “Hispanics are expected to make up 31% of immigrants. Asians, on the other hand, will outnumber Hispanics and make up 38% of immigrants.”
Wow, this is news. After all, the words “immigrant” and “Hispanic” have been interchangeable for decades now, at least in the minds of many Americans. And to be clear, Latinos are still the largest immigrant group, making up almost half (47 percent) of all immigrants in the United States.
But as we all know, immigration from Latin America has slowed in recent years. In fact, a steep decline began in 2007, mostly because the Great Recession had kicked in, and El Norte looked a lot less appealing that it had previously.
What this all means is that the percentage of new arrivals who are Hispanic is actually smaller than it was 50 years ago. Yes, despite all you’ve heard about the border being overrun, the fact is that immigration — both documented and undocumented — is down over the last decade. And in a shocker, “the percentage of the total U.S. population born outside this country was higher in 1890 than it is today.”
A recent poll found that “immigrants from Asia fare best when it comes to how Americans view them, with 47% seeing them in a positive light. Only 11% see Asians negatively.”
In stark contrast, “immigrants from Latin America are viewed positively by only 26% of those surveyed and are seen negatively by 37%.”
A natural question, of course, is why are Latino immigrants the object of so much loathing?
Well, there are the usual strands of xenophobia based on skin color, language, and cultural differences. But if I had to pick the biggest reason for the disgust many Americans feel for Hispanics, it is the perception, fueled by certain presidential candidates and professional buffoons, that Latinos are a pack of bloodthirsty, sociopathic criminals.
It’s what marketing pros call a branding issue.
And how bad, and ultimately misguided, is this perception?
Well, that’s a whole other post (yes, coming soon).