Minority majority may be on Arizona horizon  
August 11, 2005


You can already drive on a street named Tanque Verde to a restaurant named Casa Vallarta for a meal of carne seca and if you set your car radio to scan, you will hear voices speaking English, Spanish or a mixture of both.

The forecast for the future? Es el mismo (the same), only más rápido.
Ethnic minorities, led by a phenomenal growth in the Hispanic population, are poised to surpass the number of Anglos in Arizona in the near future.
It's happened in Texas, where slightly more than half of its 22.5 million residents are Hispanic - and in California, New Mexico, Hawaii and the District of Columbia, according to Census Bureau estimates released today.
Arizona and four other states - Maryland, Mississippi, Georgia and New York - may be next in line with minority populations of about 40 percent.
Muchos Hispanics, 1.6 million, dwarfed all other minority groups. The second-largest ethnic group is made up of American Indians and Alaskan Natives at nearly 256,000. Blacks placed third with about 178,000.
State demographer Samuel Colón said no one knows for sure when or if Arizona Hispanics will become the majority. But all indicators - including a 21.5 percent increase in the Hispanic population since the 2000 census - point in that direction.
Not a sorpresa for Arizonans, who for years have seen the Hispanic presence grow.
The gradual shift in demographics already is having an impact - from education to politics and from health care to advertising.
In the coming years, you can expect more of the same. Plenty of it en español.

Minority-majority states

● Current states:
● California: 55.5 percent
● Hawaii: 76.7
● New Mexico: 56.5
● Texas: 50.2
● Next up:
● Arizona: 38.9
● Georgia: 39.8
● Maryland: 40.2
● Mississippi: 40.1
● New York: 38.9
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Hispanic buying power more than doubled in a decade to $504 billion in 2000 and is expected to nearly double again by 2009, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
In Tucson, where Spanish was the first language to replace the Pima dialects spoken by earlier settlers, our cultural reshaping has been evolutionary, but in a society whose culture is so strongly shaped by marketing, expect acceleration.
"Money talks," as they say in English. In Spanish it makes the dog dance - " Con dinero baila el perro." – Tom Beal
Spanish-language media and advertising make up "a strong niche" said Earl de Berge, head of Behavior Research Center in Phoenix, but 80 percent of the Hispanic market speaks English and "58 percent have a strong capacity to operate in both languages."
"These are not just poor folks trying to get along. They are affluent and they are the most upwardly mobile of all groups. They are very active mall users, purchasers in just about every category.
"They're going to influence trends, and because they still have a great affection for their language and culture, it will have a big impact on the rest of the society," de Berge added. "It is already affecting music and entertainment." – Tom Beal
While many of Tucson's smaller music venues have yet to catch on, larger performance spaces such as Casino Del Sol's AVA have fully embraced the burgeoning Hispanic market.
In 2004, Casino Del Sol contracted the local event company Principle Solutions Group to help diversify acts, with a particular focus on shows for Hispanic consumers.
The AVA has since increased its number of Latin shows dramatically, said Ray Flores Jr., who runs PSG with promoter John Frias. Half of the venue's 26 performances this year have fallen under the all-encompassing Latino music category, ranging from the Regional Mexican banda style to rock en español. - Gerald Gay
Minority influence already has had a big effect on religion in Tucson, especially in the Catholic Church, the largest organized faith group in Tucson and the United States.
● At least 95 percent of local Catholic churches now offer Spanish services. That's up from about 15 percent a decade ago.
● About 40 percent of the diocese's 350,000 Catholics are Hispanic.
● The local diocese also has populations of Korean, Vietnamese and African parishioners. This year, the diocese will hold an "Asia Day."
Jehovah's Witnesses have been ordering an increasing number of Spanish-language Bibles and literature during the last five years, said a local church elder. The church is also offering more Spanish-language religious events.
Other denominations, including Assemblies of God, Baptist, Disciples of Christ and Foursquare Gospel, also have local services for Spanish-speakers, as do local branches of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mainline Protestant denominations, which have been historically Anglo, have experienced shrinking memberships both nationally and locally. - Stephanie Innes
More Hispanics will register to vote. More Hispanics will run for public office. More Hispanics will get elected.
"Politics will be different," predicted Pima County Record F. Ann Rodriguez, a Democrat who in 1988 became the first Hispanic to win a countywide elective post.
"People will educate themselves about the political process, they'll get involved and candidates will come forward," she said.
De Berge of the Behavior Research Center sees the surging ranks of Hispanics moving Arizona politics toward the center. But GOP pollster Margaret Kenski of Tucson, noting President Bush's success in the last election, isn't so sure.
"Historically, one would assume an advantage to the Democrats," she said. "But it's more complex an issue than that."
Rodriguez said that is why "both parties need to re-evaluate what they're doing" to attract voters.- C.J. Karamargin
Hispanics already are the majority in many of Tucson school districts, including Sunnyside Unified, where they are 87.33 percent of the total student population.Non-Hispanic whites constitute only 5.89 percent of the student body.
Non-Anglo teachers make up only 37 percent of the 1,142 certified teachers in the district, but Sunnyside officials aren't concerned. The district believes hiring teachers who can speak the language and relate to the majority of the students is more important than looking for teachers with dark skin.
"We want to recruit people who understand students, who know and understand the cultures and where students are coming from," said Sunnyside spokeswoman Monique Soria. "But we do look for bilingual people. We need that." - Jeff Commings
Hispanics are buying more homes than ever, and the housing industry is taking notice. Case in point: the recent launching of KB Casa (www.kbcasa.com), a Spanish-language Web site of KB Home, one of the nation's largest home builders.
John Bremond, president of KB's Tucson division, called it a necessary step. "We certainly recognize that in many of our markets, if not most, we are dealing with Hispanic or Latino buyers."
Serving Hispanic home buyers sometimes means offering bigger homes to accommodate extended family members, he said. "We are building homes that include up to six bedrooms."
Smaller homes are equally in demand among Hispanics, said Tillie Arvizu, vice president of Chicanos Por La Causa, a nonprofit corporation that offers programs in housing, education and economic development. Through La Causa Construction, the organization builds affordable housing primarily for Hispanics. - Lourdes Medrano
Hispanic Purchasing
● United States
● 1990: $220 billion
● 2000: $504 billion
● 2009: $992 billion
● Arizona
● 1999: $5.7 billion
● 2000: $15 billion
● 2009: $31.2 billion
Source: "The Multicultural Economy 2004," a publication of the Selig Center for Economic Growth, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia
Local schools
● Ethnic breakdown of students in Tucson's two largest school districts by percent
Tucson Unified 2000-01 2004-05
Hispanic 45.8 52.1
Anglo 41.0 34.5
Black 6.6 6.7
American Indian 4.0 4.1
Asian 2.6 2.6
Sunnyside 2000-01 2004-05
Hispanic 82.2 87.3
Anglo 10.0 5.9
Black 2.7 2.1
American Indian 4.4 4.1
Asian 0.6 0.5