Latino Research Business Owner Insights on Intra- Hispanic Acculturation

Five “Intra-Hispanic acculturation factors to help your Latino business grow.



Long ago I came up with this term for the phenomenon of Latinos adjusting to other Latino cultures they suddenly find around them – INTRA-HISPANIC ACCULTURATION.   What I found was that Latinos were adapting to each other more quickly and more easily than they were adjusting to the Anglo world around them.

Part of this was because the Anglo world can seem far away – many Latino communities in the US are fairly isolated from Anglos. 

This may be the result of discrimination, of economic isolation or even personal choices, but when you find your neighbors are different from you but you share a language, the differences are easier to bridge and they are easier to accommodate into your life. 

These factors to overcome can relate to many things, including these five:

  1. Musical and dance styles,
  2. Food preferences
  3. Word choices, slang usage or dialect variations
  4. Colors, artistic traditions
  5. Clothing, hair styles, etc.

Roughly two thirds of the Latino population in the US is of Mexican origin. 

That means that if anyone is adjusting to anyone, it is Non-Mexicans adapting themselves to the Mexican culture.   But not just.  Mexicans who have migrated to the East Coast find themselves the minority among the Latino populations

And many Latinos are often fascinated by and appreciate of the cultures of their other Latino brothers and sisters.  So it is a two-way street, even if two out of the three lanes are painted red, white and green, and you can use this to help grow your business.

1.   Music and Dance

This is an area where the walls between cultures seem to be the easiest to break down.  Mexicans love “Despacito” as much as Puerto Ricans do (at least this Mexican does).  Mexicans have fallen in love with Salsa and Merengue and adapted them into their culture.

If you would go to a Shakira or Juan Gabriel concert (preferably before his death a few months back) you would find a wide array of Latinos at these events. 

Shakira is Colombian, but all Latinos love her, and I believe the same was true of Juan Gabriel.  J-Lo is Puerto Rican but her first big roles were in Mexican-themed movies (My Family and Selena).  Daddy Yankee is Puerto Rican and PitBull is Cuban, but young Latinos across the country love them.

This does not mean that the hard-core traditions of the various Latino cultures are going away. 

Tango is Argentinian and that’s that.  Mariachi and Norteño are uniquely Mexican and Mexicans don’t care if other Latinos like it or not, but at least for the latter, many do.  

Increasingly radio stations are not just focused on the music of one national origin any more – the music just has to draw listeners.

So if you have, for example, a restaurant venue with live music, consider brining in an array of talent, not just one type.  If you have background music running in your store, keep it varied.

Next page- Factors #2 through 5 to overcome and Conclusion

Carlos Garcia
Carlos Garcia
Carlos E. Garcia, was born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively).  He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research.  Most recently  SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm. Website