Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 through October 15 each year and celebrates the history and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American, and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean. People of Hispanic origin comprise one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the U.S. and play an important role in shaping our economy and society.
In Virginia, Hispanic residents make up about 12.5% of the statewide population. In some communities, however, Hispanic residents are the largest ethnic group. For example, in the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, Hispanics comprise about 40% of residents. In the city of Harrisonburg, more than one in five city residents is Hispanic.
Over the next two decades, the Hispanic population in Virginia will increase at a much faster rate than the overall population. Between 2020 and 2040, the Hispanic population is expected to increase by 114%, meaning that the number of Hispanic residents in Virginia will more than double over a 20-year period. By contrast, the state’s White population is expected to decline by 5.7% and the state’s Black population is expected to decline by 8.7% between 2020 and 2040. Additionally, the Asian population is forecasted to increase by 96%.
Hispanic households have made great strides in achieving homeownership in Virginia. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2018, the Hispanic homeownership rate increased by 5.8% while the homeownership rates for White and Black Virginians declined. Even with these gains, however, homeownership rates among Hispanic households remain significantly lower than those for White households.
Becoming a homeowner is the primary way in which middle-class Americans build wealth. Gains in access to homeownership among Hispanic households have helped narrow the White-Hispanic wealth gap over the past three decades even as the gap has widened between White and Black households.
Recent research demonstrates the value that Hispanic residents place on homeownership. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, owning a home is seen by Hispanics as an essential part of achieving the American Dream. Other research has shown than Hispanic immigrants are increasingly moving to the suburbs, by-passing traditional urban enclaves, and have a strong desire for single-family homeownership.
In the years to come, the fast-growing Hispanic population, including both native-born residents and new immigrants to the U.S., will be an important and growing segment of Virginia’s real estate market, accounting for an increasingly large share of homebuyers and sellers. Virginia REALTORS®, in their commitment to expanding homeownership opportunities to a broad range of individuals and families, can play an essential role in helping Hispanic Virginians achieve the American Dream of homeownership.