Among the 5 million emails that wind up in my inbox each day (okay, that’s one of those statistics that might be a lie, or at least a slight exaggeration) came this one from my colleague, Bob Dane:
A release from the Phoenix Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
In the field of economics and finance, annual U.S. Hispanic purchasing power exceeds $1 trillion. Hispanic economic development, especially Hispanic small business economic development, is the most dynamic sector of the economy. These dynamic characteristics of demographic change are also presenting themselves in the economic arena of the East Valley. The data reveals that there are 212,670 Hispanics residing in the East Valley, 24% of the total population, who wield a purchasing power of $3.9 billion, representing almost one-fifth of the Hispanic Maricopa purchasing power.
The Chamber of Commerce, as we all know, loves mass immigration. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spends millions of dollars each year lobbying for more and more. Their release got me thinking about Benjamin Disraeli’s famous quip about lie, damnable lies and statistics. Everything the Chamber claims is true, except that it is deliberately misleading. They accomplish this deception by what they leave out.
Here’s what they aren’t telling us:
What the CoC report does not tell us is Hispanic purchasing power relative to their share of the population. Hispanics represent about 9 percent of the total purchasing power of the U.S. At 50 million, Hispanics represent about 16.3% of the total U.S. population. Thus, their purchasing power lags significantly behind their representation in the population.
Hispanics represented only about 4 percent of U.S. purchasing power in 1980, according to the same report that places current purchasing power at 9 percent. Thus, over the past 30 years, Hispanic purchasing power has increased by about 125 percent — seemingly a very impressive increase. But not so fast. According to Census data, there were about 14.6 million Hispanics in the U.S. in 1980. The Hispanic population in 2010 was about 3.5 times larger than it was in 1980. Thus, while the Hispanic population has grown by about 250 percent, their purchasing power has grown by only 125 percent. The typical Hispanic in the U.S. in 2010 had half the purchasing power as a Hispanic in 1980. In reality, the report purporting to show what a positive impact Hispanics are having on the economy, actually paints a very dismal picture when you look at the numbers in context.