The Hispanic population in the United States is growing about eight times faster than other groups, a new report says, and by next year Hispanics not only will be the largest minority, but also have the biggest economic influence with spending forecast at more than $800 billion.

The study from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business Friday said although Hispanics surpassed African-Americans in numbers five years ago, it will be in 2006 the two groups draw even in purchasing power.

“But, in terms of spending power, 2007 will mark the first year that Hispanics control more disposable personal income than any other U.S. minority group,” the report said.

Hispanics’ buying power is forecast to be $863.1 billion in 2007, up more than eight percent from this year, while African-American purchasing power will be $847 billion, up six percent, the report said.

A large part of that is that between 1990 and 2011, the boundaries of the study period, the Hispanic population is expected to increase 126.4 percent. That compares with 15.4 percent for the nation’s non-Hispanic population.

Jeff Humphreys, the Selig Center director, said Hispanics’ economic impact has risen from $212 billion when he started the assessments in 1990 and he expects it to be $1.2 trillion in another five years.

“That’s more than 450 percent growth from 1990 to 2011. Non-Hispanic buying power is growing closer to a rate of 176 percent over the same period,” he said.

He said Hispanic buying power also is much more concentrated than that of African-Americans other others.

“For example, California alone accounts for 27 percent of all Hispanic buying power in the U.S.,” he said.

The increased influence also can be attributed to better employment opportunities and higher business ownership, the study said. The number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew by 31 percent from 1997 to 2002, Humphreys said, triple the 10 percent growth rate for all U.S. businesses.

The report also notes Asian buying power is the second-fastest growing area, and it is expected to grow 434 percent from 1990 to 2011.

“Asian buying power is attaining critical mass in a growing number of states,” Humphreys said.

He noted in 2000, there were six states with more than $10 billion in Asian buying power. This year that number is 11.

The African-American consumer market has five states with more than $50 billion in purchasing power, and that is growing the fastest in the western states of Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Montana, the report said.

Native Americans make up the smallest group assessed by the Selig Center report, with $53.9 billion purchasing in 2006, which is forecast to rise to $73 billion in 2011.

The Selig Center was set up in 1990 in memory of Atlanta entrepreneur Simon S. Selig Jr., a 1935 graduate from Terry College. The center also publishes the annual “Georgia Economic Outlook.

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