Prosperity enables people to gain meaningful employment, pursue the opportunities they desire, lead productive lives, and build a future for their families and friends. As the Hispanic community continues to grow in San Diego County, Hispanic leaders in the region must have the responsibility to contribute to the economic empowerment of the Hispanic community. As Americans, it is our duty to be key economic drivers for growth and not an underperforming segment of the population. Numbers do not lie, our presence in San Diego County keeps growing by the year:
In 2015, there were 1.38 time more White residents (1.52M people) in San Diego County, CA than any other race or ethnicity. This is followed by Hispanic with 1.1M and Asian with 379,566. If we do not perform at the market average professionally, we are not going to be an asset to San Diego County.
I have been living in San Diego County for a little over 11 years now. When I moved to San Diego in 2006, I spoke English barely enough to get myself around the city. My wife forced me to improve my English to be successful in the marketplace. I still have a strong English accent, and that is the next step I am working on to get better, but at least I am capable of handling business deals at any level.
38.1% of San Diego County, CA citizens are speakers of a non-English language, which is higher than the national average of 21.5%. The most common language spoken in San Diego County, CA in 2015, other than English, was Spanish with 22.5% of the overall population being native speakers. This was followed by Tagalog with 2.93% and Chinese with 1.31%.
When compared to other counties, San Diego County, CA has a relatively high number of residents that are native Other speakers. In 2015, there were 11,957 native speakers, approximately 8.08 times more than would be expected, living in San Diego County, CA.
I deal with hundreds of Hispanic business owners a year. I know that many of them do not speak enough English. Is that a barrier to personal and professional growth? You better believe it. However, it is not a good idea to neglect Spanish speaking immigrants at all. Why? Spanish speaking immigrants are already set up in San Diego County, many of them contributing to the growth of our local economy with their businesses. The economic empowerment of that niche is a top priority for me and many others in our community.
Many Spanish speaking entrepreneurs are not interested in taking their business to the next level; they are comfortable in the stage they are. For those who want to expand and become a greater asset to San Diego County's economy, we must provide the resources that they need to grow. That is why our work, through the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce, is so relevant.
How can we grow economic prosperity in San Diego County when the median household income is $60K+?
According to Expatistan, cost of living in San Diego breaks down as follows:
Living Wage Calculation for San Diego County, California
Cost of Living and Prices in Similar City (NorCal)
Cost of Living, Prices in San Jose, California (United States) - MHH Income $77K
I compared San Diego to San Jose just because of the similarities that both cities have. San Jose and San Diego are as expensive, but MHH income is a little higher in San Jose. One way to increase MHH income in the Hispanic community is through the economic empowerment of the Hispanic business community. They can help to create high-paid jobs if we make doing business easy for them. Time to cut red tape and time for a tax reform that makes sense for small businesses.
Poverty by Race & Ethnicity
The most common race or ethnicity living below the poverty line in San Diego County, CA is White, followed by Hispanic or Latino and Unknown.
The Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. If a family's total income is less than the family's threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered in poverty.
Over 30% of Hispanics are in poverty in San Diego County. Are our elected officials and private sector doing enough to lower that statistic? I do not think so. Listen, many can argue that it is not a priority to reduce the percentage of Latinos in poverty, but I can tell you that they are dead wrong. When over 30% of the population are Latinos, it is a top priority for everyone to increase economic prosperity in that community.
Someone asked me once, why do you have so much love for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers -SHPE? It is a no brainer! Highest paid occupations in San Diego are engineers. We need more Hispanic graduates with an engineering degree in San Diego County. One more way to increase economic prosperity in our community.
The most common occupations in San Diego County are not the best paid. We need more Latinos in STEM, Healthcare and business owners.
In 2015 the majority of students graduating from institutions in San Diego County, CA were White with 21,809 graduates. There were 1.45 times more White graduates than the next closest race/ethnicity group, Hispanic or Latino, with 15,036 graduates.
The San Diego Union Tribune wrote an article titled "Hispanic population growth has a big effect" back in 2011. One of the people interviewed mentioned:
"Essentially, the youngsters need baby boomers’ political and tax clout to boost educational resources, and then in 10 to 20 years the boomers will need those children to support them by sustaining the economy, said John Weeks, director of San Diego State University’s International Population Center. The most important thing is to get kids well-educated so that we have an excellent labor market,” Weeks said."
Are those Hispanic "youngsters" really sustaining the economy? Not to the expected levels from what I see in neighborhoods with a high concentration of Hispanics.
One way to foster economic growth in the Hispanic community is by increasing the total number of Hispanic owned businesses in the County. Also, we need to make sure that the 43,000 Hispanic owned businesses in the region are not underperforming.
Hispanic business associations in the region must step up their game. We cannot positively impact the Hispanic business community by just hosting business mixers and galas. Our organizations must provide access to the business resources needed to succeed in a global economy.
If the Hispanic business community in San Diego County does not think big, they will keep generating net revenues under the market average.
It is a challenge to inspire those who are already comfortable with what they are currently making. The income produced by most Hispanic owned businesses in San Diego County may be enough to cover monthly expenses and stuff, but not enough to generate generational wealth.
We are committed to building economic prosperity in the Hispanic business community in San Diego County. Stay tuned for some of the new programs and initiatives that we are going to roll out through the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce Foundation over the next weeks.
Also, if you have the opportunity, please join us on September 7 at the Q & A event with Mr. Palomarez, President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. An event that will kick-off our Q & A series with high-profile business owners from all over the United States and Mexico.
We have much work to do. We welcome feedback from anyone committed to building economic prosperity in the San Diego County area. It is a priority for all to get better business opportunities, better education and better neighborhoods for our families to live.