Gen Z and Millennial American Latinos feel negatively represented in mainstream media

by | Oct 26, 2023 | Marketing, Public Relations

As much as multicultural marketing seems like a no-brainer in 2023, many brands and businesses are either doing it wrong or aren’t incorporating it into their strategy at all—and the number of opportunities they are missing is incalculable. This mis-perspective is also rampant in media, even Spanish-speaking outlets. Close to half (44 percent) of young American Latinos feel negatively represented in mainstream American media, new research from younger Latino entertainment network LATV finds. 

The national survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, which polled 1,000 young American Latinos ages 18 to 40, reveals that, despite the large population and spending power of this sector, media attitudes aren’t changing with the times.

Key findings of the research:

  • 41 percent of young American Latinos said that consuming US news and entertainment media does not make them feel positive about being a young American Latino.
  • Programming in Spanish does not seem to have a meaningful impact on young Latinos when it comes to representation. Gen Z and Millennial Latinos have very similar sentiments towards both English (29 percent) and Spanish-speaking media outlets (32 percent). 
  • 69 percent of young American Latinos expressed that they would be more interested in watching a show or movie if they knew that Latinos owned the media company or produced it.

“When you think of the time and effort it has taken to get to this little bit of progress, the numbers aren’t great,” said Andres Palencia, CEO of LATV, which only broadcasts in English, in a news release. “Mainstream Hollywood’s disconnect stems from inaccurate portrayals of our community. Latinos literally prop up the economy. We are overwhelmingly entrepreneurial and aspirational, and that is not reflected in mainstream media storylines.”

The spending power of American Latinos

Recent polling figures from the Latino Donor Collaborative on American Latino households paint an interesting story of the growing economic power of this demographic. 

  • U.S. Latino-owned firms increased 35 percent over the past ten years since 2022, compared with 4.5 percent of non-Latino-owned firms.
  • Latinos are fueling the economy at a faster rate: their purchasing power increased by 87 percent from 2010 to 2020, compared with 51 percent for the same period amongst non-Latinos.
  • Latinos are predicted to account for 70 percent of home ownership over the next 20 years. In 2021, Latino homeownership increased by 48.4 percent, up from 47.5 percent in 2019.

According to the Pew Research Center, one in four Gen Zers in the US are Latinos

“When we started LATV, Andres and I wanted to make sure future generations knew that being different is a superpower and not something to be ashamed of,” said Bruno Seros-Ulloa, president of LATV, in the release. “I never saw anyone like me on TV growing up, so I wasn’t always sure if my voice mattered. A large part of what we do now at LATV involves making sure that future Latino generations see themselves as game changers and know that all Latinos can actualize their wildest dreams.”

“The stereotypes in mainstream Hollywood continue to push us as criminals and outsiders; these views are as offensive as they are outdated,” said Palencia. “We’re here to show so many more different, authentic, and exciting facets of young American Latino culture that aren’t available anywhere else.”

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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