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No Longer Politics as Usual
The census estimates that there were 9.745 million Hispanic voters in 2008, an increase of almost 30 percent since the last presidential election! Overall, an estimated 131 million Americans voted in 2008, compared to 125.7 million in 2004, for an increase of just 4.3%. Of the 5.4 million additional votes cast in 2008, almost half—2.2 million—were cast by Latinos.
It Pays to Be Bilingual
The number of Spanish-dominant and bilingual Latinos will increase by 45 percent over the next two decades—adding 12.4 million Spanish speakers to the U.S. population. Spanish is currently the fourth most commonly spoken language on the planet. Learning Spanish opens the door for you to communicate with 350 million native Spanish speakers worldwide.
Our Growing Economic Power
U.S. Latinos are making significant economic strides. Over the past ten years, the buying power of Latinos has risen 65% to a total $348 billion dollars— a sum greater than the entire gross national product of Mexico.
Redistributing the Wealth: Carlos "Slim" Helu
The third wealthiest man in the world is Carlos “Slim” Helu, with a net worth of approximately $35 billion. He is a Mexican engineer who made most of his money through telecommunications and was the first president of the Latin American Committee of the New York Stock Exchange. Slim now heads the Latin America Development Fund project, which has a budget of over $10 billion to fund cultural projects throughout Latin America.
Politics: The Year of the Latina
This year was an important one for Latinas in U.S. politics. Not only did we see the historic appointment of the first Latina to the Supreme Court with Sonia Sotomayor, but Hilda Solis has also been championing the causes of everyday laborers as the Secretary of Labor. We’ve also made inroads in local elections: of the 86 women serving in the Congress, seven are Latina and of the 1,741 female state legislators nationwide, 75 are Latina.
Making the Cut on the Red Carpet
Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera have long been red carpet mainstays, but this year a ton of fresh new Latino designers received some shine. First Lady Michelle Obama is known to favor Narciso Rodriguez and Isabel Toledo, but plenty of dresses by lesser known Latino designers have graced star-studded red carpets across the country. Francisco Costa, Brian Reyes, Gustavo Cadile, Esteban Cortazar and Carlos Miele all had breakout years.
Power Moves Behind the Scenes in Hollywood
Latinos are a growing force behind the scenes in Hollywood. Emmy nominated writer/director Rodrigo Garcia, son of legendary writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Jose Rivera, the first Puerto Rican screenwriter to be nominated for an Oscar, demonstrate the talent that we possess off screen. But with Latinos accounting for 15 percent of the U.S. population and only four percent of on-camera talent, our impact on Hollywood is clearly a work in progress.