Haas deep dives on Hispanic population

The Hispanic population in the Escambia County area is not huge. It accounts for just over 5 percent of the population. But that’s projected to change in the coming years.

“It is the most rapidly growing population segment in Escambia County,” said Amy Newburn, director of market research with the University of West Florida’s Haas Center. “The pattern is going to be striking.”

Coinciding with Hispanic Heritage Month, the Haas Center has released a collection of data relating to the local Hispanic community. As the organization has done for the African-American community, women and veterans, it assessed information concerning population numbers, as well as educational, economical and professional particulars.

Newburn—presenting the Haas Center’s data at a Sept. 12 event—used a pyramid graph to illustrate the projected growth of the Hispanic population in Escambia.

“We are going to watch what’s going to happen over the next 50 years,” she said, initiating the graph to fluctuate into the future.

As the years progress, the pyramid graph morphs from a slender, arrow-like form— indicating the number of both male and female individuals of Hispanic origin—to a much bushier, wider shape.

“I can do that again,” Newburn said, initiating the time-lapse, shape-shifting pyramid graph again. “It’s worth a watch one more time. Watch for fun.”

A woman in the audience summed up the graph’s evolution: “It looks like a Christmas tree.”

As of 2018, the total Hispanic origin of Escambia County was at 5.9 percent, or 18,794 individuals. In the next five years, by 2023, that percentage is expected to grow to 6.6 percent. To put that in context, the same population was at 2.7 percent in 2000 and 4.7 percent in 2010.

The Haas Center also broke down the local Hispanic population number by country of origin. Individuals hail from a range of locales, such as Central and South America, as well as Cuba and Mexico. By far, most of the local population—42 percent, nearly 8,000 people—hails from Mexico, with the next largest population, at 21.4 percent, being from Puerto Rico. The remaining Hispanic population is split between a number of countries, with 7 percent coming from South American countries and 8.2 percent from Central American countries.

Insofar as economics, the Haas Center found that the local Hispanic population is bringing in a combined $315,849,100, as of 2017, in household income.

“That’s what they’re spending on cars and groceries in our area,” Newburn said.

When looking at median household incomes, the Hispanic population falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum when compared to other segments of the population. The median household income for Hispanics is $37,147, while for the total population it’s $47,361. To further break those numbers down, the white population has a median household income of $52,160, and the black population has one of $32,792, while the Asian population sees a median of $44,118.

Per capita income for the Hispanic community is listed just below $20,000, compared to an overall number in the mid-$25s. And about 23 percent of the Hispanic community is considered to be at poverty levels, compared to an overall population rate of 15 percent.

One of the more striking data points concerning the local Hispanic community’s educational particulars was the percentage of the population with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. About 33 percent of the Hispanic community has a higher degree, compared to 30 percent of whites, 26 percent of Asians and 14 percent of blacks.

Of those in the Hispanic community attaining college degrees, the Haas Center found that a good number of them are going into the sciences and engineering-related fields, with those paths accounting for about 34 percent. The arts and humanities attracted the next highest percentage, at 28 percent, followed up by business and education paths.

Approximately 81 percent of the local Hispanic population has earned a high school diploma. Those without a high school diploma account for 19.3 percent.

The Haas Center also attempted to look at which industries and professions the local Hispanic population tended to be employed in. It found that around 40 percent of individuals employed in private households, with average earnings of just over $14,000, are Hispanic. The long-distance trucking industry, as well as agriculture-based businesses, with pay between $32,000 and $41,000, also have a healthy Hispanic population, with each seeing about 33 percent of the total workforce hailing from afar.

Other industries with notable Hispanic populations include film production (32 percent of total workforce), barber shops (27 percent), residential remodelers (26 percent), college, universities and local government (25 percent), masonry contractors (23 percent), framing contractors (23 percent) and glass/glazing contractors (22 percent). Specific occupations with high Hispanic participation rates include agricultural-related professions, such as farm laborers and nursery workers (accounting for around 30 percent of the total workforce) as well as jobs like substitute teachers (26 percent of total) and translators (36 percent of total).

To further explore the Haas Center’s findings on the local Hispanic population, check here: https://haas.uwf.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Presentation.pdf