The growth of a diverse set of Hispanic groups in Long Island's neighborhoods is contributing to "the Latinization of the New York region" as that population spreads across cities and suburbs and grows in spending power, according to a new analysis issued Monday by the Hispanic Federation.
The New York City-based nonprofit's report -- prepared with data from the Nielsen research company -- seeks to provide a more nuanced consumer snapshot of "the most dynamic segment of our state's population," said group president José Calderón.
Overall, the analysis found that the Hispanic community has become more diverse in age groups, income levels and countries of origin for its immigrant groups. At the same time, Latinos are a powerful consumer force who account for $92 billion in household income across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
"The community is very diverse if you think about income, economic status, language and acculturation levels," Calderón said.
"You have a large number of Latinos that live on Long Island and you have everything under the sun there: you have Latino laborers and office workers and middle-class people" within the same ethnic group.
Among the analysis' key findings:
Latino communities are concentrated in specific counties and in enclaves within those counties rather than spread out. Suffolk County, with nearly 270,000 Hispanic residents, and Nassau County, with about 212,000 Hispanic residents, are among the top 10 counties for Latinos in those states.
Hispanics can be grouped in subgroups based on their consumer behavior, and suburbs like Long Island attract more middle-age, middle- and upper- income households.
The average $60,500 household income for Latinos regionwide lags behind the average for all households by more than $30,000, showing a need for better education and job-skills training.
Juan C. Vides, owner of Tech ACS Corp online marketing company in Oceanside and a board member of the Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said he often counsels clients to remember those consumers are there for the taking if companies do a little outreach.
"We may not be the most powerful group yet, but we are growing," Vides said. "If you look at Hispanic newspapers, you will see a lot of immigration attorneys and medical doctors that have figured that out [and] are going after those dollars."