The Idaho Department of Labor announced Thursday that, despite the poor economy, Hispanics’ buying power increased at a rate "10 times faster than the buying power of the state's non-Hispanic majority." The news from the department is based on a report by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
Buying power is defined by the center as "after-tax personal income people have to spend on virtually everything from necessities like food, clothing and housing to luxuries like recreation equipment and vacations."
Buying power for Hispanics increased by 3.1 percent, to a total of $2.5 billion in 2009. In contrast, buying power for non-Hispanics in the same year only rose by three-tenths of 1 percent, totaling $41.3 billion. Buying power for non-Hispanics increased 3.8 percent in 2008. For Hispanics in Idaho, 2009 was the sixth straight year in which their rise in buying power outpaced Hispanics nationally.
The report explains that the Hispanics are beginning to change how businesses in Idaho operate. The department says that "the $2.5 billion influence exerted by Hispanics in Idaho has culturally and economically diversified the state and generated business opportunities across the board."
That influence has increased dramatically during the last 20 years due to large increase in the Hispanic population in the state, explains the report. Hispanics, who make up 10.2 percent of the population of Idaho, have increased their share of buying power in the state from 2.8 percent in 1990 to 5.7 in 2010. That rise, says the department, is attributed to a doubling of Hispanics' overall population since 1990.