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Idaho Hispanics continue to gain economic influence

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

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The economic influence of Idaho's Hispanic population edged up in 2012. Estimates developed by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia showed the buying power of Idaho's Hispanics rose 5.9 percent from 2011 to 2012 while the increase for the rest of population was 3.2 percent, according to the Idaho Department of Labor's Hispanic Buying Power 2012 report.

It was the slowest growth rate for Hispanics since the depths of the recession in 2009. The Selig Center also significantly lowered previous buying power estimates to reflect the recession's impact on the Idaho economy and the effect of a slow recovery through 2011.

Buying power is the after tax personal income people have to spend on virtually everything from necessities like food, clothing and housing to luxuries like recreation equipment and vacations. It does not include money borrowed or saved from previous years.

The more modest gains made by Idaho Hispanics in 2012 boosted their share of overall state buying power to 6.2 percent, but that one-tenth of a point increase from 2011 was the smallest year-to-year gain since 2001.

Even so, the Hispanic influence on Idaho's economy ranked 14th among the states. New Mexico led the nation with Hispanics accounting for just over 32 percent of total buying power. Texas Hispanics were second at 21.4 percent.

Per capita buying power in 2012 - the buying power attributable to every man, woman and child in Idaho - rose 2.6 percent for both the total population and non-Hispanics while population growth for each was under 1 percent. That was slightly higher than the rate of inflation in 2012 at 2.1 percent.

Idaho's Hispanic population grew about three times faster at over 2 percent, and per capita income was up 3.7 percent. That accommodated the population growth while staying well ahead of inflation to generate that real gain in economic influence in 2012. About 11.6 percent of Idaho's population is Hispanic.

The full report is online at

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Original Publication Date: January 1, 2014

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