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Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 305 -- People Like To Say "Salsa."

Hispanic Businesses-

Did you know that tortillas now outsell Wonder Bread in the U.S.? And salsa outsells ketchup?

Apparently so.

But wait, there's more.

The number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew 31 percent between 1997 and 2002 — three times the national average for all businesses — according to a new report, Survey of Business Owners: Hispanic-Owned Firms: 2002 (.pdf), released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The nearly 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses generated nearly $222 billion in revenue, up 19 percent from 1997.

And more tidbits:

* In 2002, nearly 3-in-10 Hispanic-owned firms operated in construction and other services, such as personal services, and repair and maintenance.
* In 2002, firms owned by people of Mexican origin accounted for more than 44 percent of all Hispanic-owned firms.
* Retail and wholesale trade accounted for 36 percent of Hispanic-owned business revenue.
* There were 29,184 Hispanic-owned firms with receipts of $1 million or more.
* There were 1,510 Hispanic-owned firms with 100 employees or more, generating more than $42 billion in gross receipts.
* States with the fastest rates of growth for Hispanic-owned firms between 1997 and 2002 included New York (57 percent), Rhode Island and Georgia (56 percent each),
Nevada and South Carolina (48 percent each).
* Counties with the highest number of Hispanic-owned firms were Los Angeles County, Calif. (188,472); Miami-Dade County, Fla. (163,188); Harris County, Texas (61,934); and Bronx County, N.Y. (38,325).

Here's the industries:


Tyler Cowen asks:

Have I mentioned that both the U.S. and Europe are, unwittingly, building new civilizations? Which one would you bet on?

Jonathan Last explains why our immigrants are better than Europe's:

So here's the good news: Having an immigration problem is a marker of being a successful, vibrant society. And if you have to have an immigration problem, ours is the one to have.

Just about half of our recent legal immigrants and about 80 percent of our illegals are from Mexico and the Southern Americas. Which means that they come from cultures that share the roots of Western liberalism: monogamy, pluralism, respect for women's legal rights, religious tolerance. The biggest obstacle to cultural acclimation is the language barrier.

That's not nothing, but, still, it could be much, much worse. Demographers note what are called channels of migrations, meaning that particular groups of people tend to migrate to particular destinations for an array of logistical, cultural and social reasons. America gets Hispanics. Europe gets Arab and African Muslims. According to Robert Leiken, the director of the Immigration and National Security Program at the Nixon Center, Muslims comprise "the bulk of immigrants in countries such as Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Spain." The numbers are comparable across the rest of Western Europe, too.

And unlike America's Hispanic immigrants, many Muslim immigrants in Europe have conflicted feelings about the underpinnings of Western liberalism. In France, there are car burnings and clashes about laïcité; in Holland, Islamist immigrants have been making death threats against politicians and public figures; in Denmark, Muslims are unhappy with the idea of a free press; in Sweden, where T-shirts proclaiming "2030--then we take over" have become popular with Muslim youths, authorities are struggling to deal with the rise of honor killings.

In America, we have fights over bilingual education.

While that's a bit of an oversimplification of America's very legitimate immigration problems, and while I am certainly not an "open borders" or "amnesty" kind of guy, the Latinotization of parts of America is far superior to and desireable than the Islamicization of much of Europe.

Part of it is the character of the immigrants. Part of it is the match between the immigrants and host cultures. Part of it is that the United States still, despite our growing entitlement/welfare state, has a superior system (political, economic, etc.). Our system encourages entrepreneurship. Our system encourages assimilation and integration. Our system encourages coexistence. Our system is superior to Europe's. And that's part of why our immigrants flourish here.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Record Tax Refunds.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 March 2006 09:51 PM


I don't know whether many or most of our illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America would consider themselves part of "Western liberalism". I doubt whether Jonathan Last really understands that.

Our system does not encourage assimilation. It's been going in the other direction for quite a while: "multiculturalism", etc. etc.

Posted by: TLB at March 23, 2006 11:08 PM

I think you are wrong on both counts there - hispanics are inheritors of the same western cultural and religious traditions that white americans are, and now that South America is becoming democratized they are inheriting the liberal political tradition as well.

Our system does in fact encourage assimilation, and far more than does Europe. A North African in France knows he will never be French, but the same North African coming to America is not only encouraged to become 'American', it is expected. And his children, too.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 24, 2006 02:47 AM

Yum, yum... Mexican food is great! I recall someone going to Minnesota and thinking how strange it was because of the lack of Mexican Food???

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 24, 2006 10:01 AM


Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 24, 2006 10:31 AM

Another factor that I think plays a part is the tax burden to immagrants here as opposed to Europe. Our government usally holds a smaller tax burden on the individual.

Likewise, we have systemic efforts in place to actually encourage small business and especially minority owned business. I can't recall of a European nation that does the same to allow people to start ventures with less money.

Europe seems to encourage the assimilation in to their social services with more zeal than the enablement of immagrants to own or opperate business.

That's partially the natural effect of capitalism versus socialism as far as I can tell.

Posted by: Rob B. at March 24, 2006 02:17 PM