How The Rapid Growth Of The Hispanic Population Has Spawned Increasing Numbers Of Hispanic-Owned Businesses. What’s The Outlook For The Market
By Ale’ Frederico, Chair, Westchester Hispanic Chamber Board of Directors
White Plains, NY -
Small businesses are the backbone of our national economy, employing more than 92% of all workers and creating new and innovative products for the national and global marketplace.
Nationally, one in 13 small businesses is Hispanic-owned, and the number of Hispanic businesses has grown at a rate three times the national average. Latina-owned businesses are growing at an even faster rate – nearly six times that of the national average. The following are some important national and regional statistics:
• There were 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002, up 31 percent from 1997.
• An IRS report predicts that 1 out of every 10 small businesses will be Hispanic-owned by the year 2007.
• The number of prosperous Hispanic households, those with incomes of at least $100,000, rose 137 percent
between 1990 and 2000.
• The growth in Hispanic-owned businesses in New York is outpacing the rest of the country. Figures released on
3/21/06 by the U.S. Census Bureau show that the number of Hispanic-owned firms in New York grew 57%,
nearly double the national rate of Hispanic-owned firms and more than five times the national average for all
businesses. In the tri-state area there were 225,000 Hispanic-owned businesses.
The impressive growth of Westchester County Hispanic businesses reflects not only the growth in the local Hispanic population, but the entrepreneurial spirit of our community. According to the latest U.S. Census figures, Westchester’s Hispanic population now comprises 15.6% of the County’s total population (144,124). This represents a 68% increase from the 1990 Census. Hispanics are now the single largest minority group in the county, outnumbering African Americans by almost 19,000. Along with this growth in population has been an even larger growth in the number of businesses that are Hispanic-owned. According to Westchester County’s 1998 Data book, Hispanic-owned businesses in the County numbered 29 businesses in 1977. The U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 Economic Census lists a total of 8,356 establishments.
These numbers clearly indicate that the establishment of new businesses is exceeding even the rapid population growth in the Hispanic community. The numbers also point out the importance of the Hispanic business community to the overall health of the Westchester County economy.
In 2002 The Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce secured funding from Westchester County to conduct a survey of Westchester’s Hispanic-owned businesses. The primary goal of the project was to identify the various types of Hispanic-owned businesses currently operating in the County and the factors that may be impacting their growth and development. WHCC contracted with Metas Business Services, a local Hispanic-owned consulting firm to conduct the survey.
The consultant surveyed more than 500 Hispanic-owned businesses from eleven Westchester County communities. The types of business targeted by the survey were primarily retail, service and professional establishments that had a location outside of the home in a commercial property — those firms easily reached by street-level surveying.
Some of the key findings of the survey were as follows: The vast majority of businesses surveyed are quite new; with more than 75% being in business for 10 years or less, and 53% having been started within the last five years. Of the 513 businesses surveyed, 212 indicated having plans to expand over the next twelve months while only three said they might close. There were 132 woman-owned businesses, or 34% of the total businesses surveyed.
Not surprisingly, the largest business sector represented was the Retail sector with 268 businesses, or 52% of all those surveyed. The second largest group was the Service sector with 213 businesses (41.5%). Only one manufacturer and wholesale business participated in the survey. The most prominent type of business within the Retail category, and within the entire survey, was Food Related Businesses with 201 identified representing 39% of all businesses surveyed. The next largest categories of Retail businesses were: Gift and Variety Stores (15), Music & Video Stores (10), Clothing Stores (9), Jewelers (6) and Florists (5). The Service sector was primarily made up of Beauty Salons/Barber Shops and businesses classified as International Telephone and Money Exchange stores, each comprising 9% of the businesses surveyed.
Over the last five years the WHCC has noticed an increase in the self-employed professional services sector serving both the organizational needs of the growing small business community and the personal needs of the increasingly successful Hispanic business owners. The (WHCC) Chamber has experienced a significant increase in membership from Hispanic professionals in the areas of finance, wealth management and insurance, accounting, real estate and mortgage providers. This increase is another indicator of the growing success and affluence of the Hispanic business and professional community in Westchester County.
The Westchester Hispanic Chamber (WHCC) is a private, not-for-profit corporation founded in 1988 in an effort to assist the growing Westchester Hispanic business and professional community.
1 Information was obtained online from the Westchester County, 1998 Databook, the US Department of Census website, 2000 Census of Population, and the 1997 Economic Census, Survey of Minority & Women Owned Enterprises. The U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 Economic Census.