NC in Focus: Hispanic Employment & Business Ownership

Series note: This post and the others in this series are the outgrowth of a presentation jointly developed with Dr. Krista M. Perreira and presented by Dr. Perreira to the October meeting of the North Carolina Governor’s Hispanic/Latino Advisory Board.

Terminology note: The U.S. Census Bureau introduced the term Hispanic in 1980 and this is a term preferred by some Hispanic/Latino populations. The term Latino became more commonly used in the 1990s and is preferred by others. Most recently, younger Latinas and Latinos have introduced the more gender-neutral term Latinx. In these posts and materials, we use the terms Hispanic and Latino interchangeably.

Hispanic residents are active participants in North Carolina’s economy. Mexico is a leading source of Latino residents in part due to long-standing trading partnerships with Mexico that were established over several decades. Today, Mexico is one of our top 5 trading partners. In 2016, North Carolina had $3.0 billion in exports to Mexico. (Industrial machinery, electric machinery, and vehicles were among the top export categories.)

North Carolina’s Hispanic/Latino population is very young: just 3% of the state’s Hispanic residents are 65 or older (versus 16% statewide) and half of the population is under the age of 25. In addition, many of North Carolina’s Hispanic and Latino residents initially moved to the state to work. Reflecting these two factors, Hispanics/Latinos typically have higher labor force participation rates than other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Nationwide, 67% of Hispanic/Latino residents age 16 and older are in the labor force and just 6.7% of those workers are unemployed. In North Carolina, 71% of all Hispanics/Latinos are in the labor market; only 6.3% of those who are looking for work do not have a job.

The Hispanic/Latino population is also highly entrepreneurial, establishing many new businesses in the state. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in North Carolina increased from just 21,300 to nearly 34,900 according to the Survey of Business Owners, an increase 13,600 of 64%. This growth far outpaced total firm growth. Over this period, the state’s total number of firms grew by just 7,200 or 0.9%. In 2012, Hispanic-owned businesses made up 4.3% of all North Carolina firms, a significant increase from 2.7% in 2007.

Many Hispanic-owned businesses are a sole proprietorship or partnership with no paid employees. In 2012, 9% of Hispanic-owned businesses had paid employees, half of the statewide share of all firms (19%). In 2012, there were 3,200 Hispanic firms with paid employees. These firms employed 24,000 individuals and paid out $730 million in wages. According to the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, there were 4,200 Hispanic-owned firms with paid employees in 2015 with total employment of more than 35,000 and $1 billion in payroll.

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The Hispanic/Latino Community in North Carolina

Series note: This post and the next few in the series are the outgrowth of a presentation jointly developed with Dr. Krista M. Perreira and presented by Dr. Perreira to the October meeting of the North Carolina Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs.

Terminology note: The U.S. Census Bureau introduced the term Hispanic in 1980 and this is a term preferred by some Hispanic/Latino populations. The term Latino became more commonly used in the 1990s and is preferred by others. Most recently, younger Latinas and Latinos have introduced the more gender-neutral term Latinx. In these posts and materials, we use the terms Hispanic and Latino interchangeably.

North Carolina’s Hispanic population is nearing 1 million, with 932,000 residents in 2016. The state’s Hispanic/Latino population grew from just over 75,000 in 1990 to 800,000 in 2010. Between 2010 and 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that North Carolina’s Hispanic population grew by 132,000 new residents, an increase of 16.5%, similar to the growth of this population nationwide (13.9%).

Just over 1 in 4 Latino residents live in two counties: Mecklenburg (137K) or Wake (105K). The counties with the next largest Hispanic populations are Forsyth (47K), Guilford (41K), and Durham (41K) counties. In 24 North Carolina counties, there were fewer than 1,000 Hispanic residents in 2016.

Statewide, 9% of North Carolina’s population is Hispanic or Latino, a much smaller share than the national average (18%). Though the Hispanic population is smaller in more rural counties, many of these counties have seen faster growth in this population over the past 25 years. As a result, Hispanic or Latino residents comprise a greater share of the population in many less populated, rural counties. In Duplin County, for example, 22% of residents are Hispanic; Sampson (19%), Lee (19%), and Montgomery (16%) counties have similarly high proportions.

Most Hispanics or Latinos living in North Carolina are U.S.-born citizens (59%). Between 2000 and 2010, there were increases in both the U.S.-born and foreign-born Hispanic populations in North Carolina, though the U.S.-born population grew more quickly. 2010 marked the first year that more than half (52%) of the state’s Latino residents were born in the United States. Since 2010, the population of foreign-born Hispanic/Latino residents has not been growing. Instead, the state’s Hispanic/Latino population has grown from births to current residents of North Carolina and from in-migration of U.S.-born Hispanic/Latino residents from other states.

Both U.S.- and foreign-born Latino populations represent a diversity of cultural/ethnic origins. Among the foreign-born population, Mexico is the leading country of origin: 237,000 individuals were born in Mexico, representing 60% of the state’s foreign-born Hispanic population. The Central American countries of Honduras (36K), El Salvador (28K), and Guatemala (26K) are the next most common countries of origin; 23% of foreign-born Hispanic/Latino North Carolinians are from one of these three countries.

Among all North Carolina Hispanic or Latino residents, 57% identify Mexican as their primary Hispanic/Latino background; 10% identify as Puerto Rican heritage; and another 15% are of a Central American background like Salvadoran, Honduran, and Guatemalan.

For more details on North Carolina’s Hispanic population, download this one-page data snapshot.

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Demographic Facts You Need to Know, NC vs. US

It’s hard to understand and process new information if we don’t have sufficient context and grounding in basic facts. A lot of what we do at Carolina Demography is help people understand the demographic facts at hand. The facts of interest are often very straightforward: how many people live in NC, where they live, how quickly populations are changing, etc. We make sure that individuals, organizations, and policy makers understand these basics so they can contextualize and make sense of more complex arguments and proposals they may encounter.

Dr. Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland who writes regularly at Family Inequality, recently published an updated list of 25 demographic facts (U.S. focused) he wants his students to know cold. He notes:

Here’s the list of current demographic facts you need just to get through the day without being grossly misled or misinformed—or, in the case of journalists or teachers or social scientists, not to allow your audience to be grossly misled or misinformed.

In this vein, we present 25 demographic facts you need to know. North Carolina statistics are presented alongside national statistics for context and comparison. The links below will take you to the source of the most recent data.

1. 2016 Population Estimates, U.S. Census Bureau
2. NC Office of State Budget and Management
3. U.S. Census Bureau
4. 2015 American Community Survey
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics via NC Commerce
6. NC State Center for Health Statistics
7. National Center for Health Statistics

One-page PDF: Demographic Facts NC vs US

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Population Growth for Some Unlikely North Carolina Municipalities

July 2015 to July 2016 was the largest year of population growth for the state of North Carolina for any single-year period since the last decennial Census (2010). This was also the case for 124 of North Carolina’s municipalities, including several with previously slim or even declining population growth. These places are labeled and represented by colored markers on the Story Map below. The table accompanying each point compares the numeric and percentage growth year-to-year from 2010-2015 with the numeric and percentage growth from 2015-2016.

This map reveals the spatial component that is likely driving growth for many of these municipalities. The blue and purple rings represent buffers – of 15, 20 and 25 miles, respectively – surrounding the boundaries of North Carolina’s most populous cities. Two-thirds of these newly emerging municipalities are less than 20 miles from a major city – well within a reasonable commuting distance. As noted in a previous post, a number of these prospective suburbs and exurbs were among the fastest-growing places in the state. Nonetheless, only future Census population estimates will reveal if these growth patterns can be expected to continue, and for which places. If trends do continue, this likely indicates that residents are choosing to live and commute greater distances from North Carolina’s major urban cores.

 

There is an additional data source which may reveal the factors driving growth or decline in a given place: the measure of a population’s components of change. This is the sum of its births, deaths, in-migration, and out-migration. The Census Bureau only publishes these estimates as low as the county level, but they may still reveal developing trends in the cities and towns located there. For nearly all of the municipalities’ principal counties, in-migration was the main driver of growth, according to annual estimates from 2015-2016. Several of these counties had natural decrease – where deaths outnumbered births – and migration accounted for all population gains. In most cases, domestic migration exceeded international migration. Though these estimates are for the entire county – not just the municipality of interest – the nature of this growth points to suburban and exurban relocation as the most likely cause of recent population gains.

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Upcoming Data Releases of Note

In the next few months, the U.S. Census Bureau is releasing multiple data products that will provide new years of data, as well as some new detail not currently available. Here are the four most valuable updates for better understanding NC and its changing demographics:

  1. New county-to-county migration flow tables updated with 2011-15 data. The release of these tables and the update to the Census Flows Mapper web application will be the first time that non-overlapping 5-year flows tables are available for comparison (2006-10 and 2011-15). Scheduled for release August 10th. 
  2. 2016 American Community Survey: the most recent estimates of demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics for geographic areas with populations of 65,000 or more. The 2016 ACS will be released September 14th.
  3. New language details in American FactFinder. The Census Bureau is adding new detail to the American FactFinder table on language spoken at home (Table B16001). The new languages being added are:
    • Haitian (previously “French Creole”)
    • Punjabi (previously “Other Indic languages”)
    • Bengali (previously “Other Indic languages”)
    • Telugu (previously “Other Asian languages”)
    • Tamil (previously “Other Asian languages”)
      Scheduled for release September 14th.
  4. New language details in 2016 ACS microdata (PUMS). The Bureau is adding in new language detail on languages that were previously not available. The October 2016 release of the PUMS files will contain multiple new language codes, including many new codes for African languages that were previously grouped together, such as Somali, Oromo, Tigrinya, Yoruba, and Igbo.

Although many of these linguistic communities are relatively small in North Carolina, they are concentrated in certain areas. Raleigh has a large concentration of Telugu and Tamil speakers (among the top 10 non-English and non-Spanish languages spoken in Raleigh metro). Meanwhile, Greensboro was the only metro in North Carolina where African languages (Kru, Igbo, and Yoruba) were among the top 10 languages spoken at home other than English or Spanish.

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