Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Effects of the Hispanic Population on Arkansas Small Business

Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Effects of the Hispanic Population on Arkansas Small Business

Article excerpt


The growth in population of Hispanics in Arkansas is a trend that business simply cannot ignore. Many businessmen are afraid to respond to the new market because they do not understand it or the people within it. Some Arkansans do not welcome these new guests. But, like it or not, Hispanics are here, and they are planning to stay. Not only are they working in our factories and production plants, they are starting their own businesses, buying our products, viewing real estate, and looking to start a new life in this land of opportunity. Instead of being uneasy, business should be excited at the influx of new customers. However, entrepreneurs should also be aware that while these people from Latin American may learn our language, live in our country, go to our schools, salute our flag and trade with U.S. dollars, they are different from us, and the differences affect how they will do business in Arkansas.


The importance of the Hispanic population in Arkansas has recently increased as more immigrants from Latin America have come to the state seeking jobs. There are a myriad of aspects associated with the increased importance. In regard to the economic impact, the significance can be attributed to two considerations.

First, many of the Hispanic immigrants are willing to do work that many non-Hispanic American citizens are not willing to do. To the Hispanic laborers, this "undesirable" work is a better opportunity than they could have attained in their native countries. The second consideration is related to the growing Hispanic population and their purchasing power. Sales to Latinos contribute economically because members of the Hispanic population are likely to have a high Marginal Propensity to Consume (MPC).

The following study will focus on the Hispanic population in the state of Arkansas. This includes focus on the growth of this group of immigrants, public perception, the Hispanic labor force, and opportunities for small business.


The Hispanic population in Arkansas is increasing dramatically. This fact has been studied, but perhaps the most definitive recent work is Jeralynn S. Cossman and Edward L. Powers' Winter 2000 article, "Dynamics of Hispanic Population Growth in Arkansas." According to the article, the 2000 Census showed there are approximately 86,866 Hispanics living in Arkansas, and this statistic is a dramatic increase over the 19,876 Hispanics counted during the 1990 Census (Cossman & Powers, 2000). The most recent numbers reveal a population that is almost four and a half times larger than counted in 1990 (Cossman & Powers, 2000). Therefore, a departure from the rest of recent history exists because the 19,876 Hispanics counted in 1990 represented a population only 1.1 times as large as the 17,904 counted in 1980 (Cossman & Powers, 2000). Nationally, Arkansas' 337 percent increase in total Hispanic population was second only to North Carolina's increase (Greico, 2003). The total U.S. Hispanic population increased from 22 million in 1990 to 35.2 million in 2000 (Grieco, 2003). Immigrants were 47 percent of the 13.3 million increase (Grieco, 2003).

The best way to assess the Hispanic population in Arkansas is to look regionally within the state. As of 2000, the largest Hispanic concentrations were located in the Northwest, Central, and Western regions (Cossman & Powers, 2000). The following Table 1 lists the populations in these regions. As indicated by the Table, more than 50% of Arkansas' Hispanics live in these three regions (Cossman & Powers, 2000).

The next step is to analyze the Hispanic population in regard to Arkansas counties. Cossman and Powers (2000) state, "From a policy orientation, a better indicator of Hispanic impact might be found by considering the 'saturation rate' or the proportion of the population who claim Hispanic ethnicity. …

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