The Hispanic population and Death Care



I recently saw an e-mail alert from the American Heart Association with an odd title.  The title of this particular e-mail information item was “Caregiving a concern as U.S. Hispanic people age faster than other populations”.


I eventually realized that the headline did not mean that Hispanic people “get older faster” but meant that as a cohort of people in the United States, Hispanic people are aging in large numbers. . . .a result of many coming to the United States as younger people years ago.


In any regard I wondered about the number of Hispanics that live in the United States and, at least from a death care point of view, how they might change the dynamics of the “services of death care” in the upcoming years.


One thing that I have noticed about death care over the years is how, while we don’t always realize it, we are divided in many communities by death care “niche” businesses.  For instance, in some communities there is the Roman Catholic funeral home, the Protestant funeral home, the cremation society, and even now in Seattle we have the natural organic reduction, or human composting, funeral home.


I’ve always been amazed at how funeral providers seem to “limit” their clientele by their own choice of who or what they want to be known for.  I grew up a Protestant, but I wanted Catholics who died to come to my firm also. . . .Same for cremation — if a family chose cremation as a disposition alternative, I did not want to cede my right to a “cremation operator” to conduct the operations and profit from it.


Back to the Hispanic population of the United States.  My research has indicated that the Hispanic population of the United States is currently about 19.1% of the population.  According to the Centers for Disease Control the number of Hispanic deaths in the United States in 2022 was approximately 315,000.  According to Statista the United States had a total of about 3.27 million deaths in 2022 so the Hispanic percentage of all U.S. deaths would be about 9.6% while the Hispanic share of the population was 19.1%.  That contrast alone will tell you that the Hispanic average age is lower than the rest of the country.


The Center for Disease Control also estimates that the rate of death for the Hispanic population in the United States is about 5.04 per 1,000 people as compared to a national average death rate (per the World Data Atlas) for all populations in the U.S. of about 9.3 per 1,000 people.  That fact also would indicate that the average age of Hispanics in the United States is much lower than the rest of the population base but that age is starting to increase (or as they called it — aging faster) as to the title of the American Heart Association email.


Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

Following up on that hypothesis is the idea that the Hispanic population is aging and that their death rate will be increasingly getting closer to the national average.  According to some sources the Hispanic population of the United States will reach 102 million by 2050.  If at that time their death rate was closer to the national average — let’s say 8 deaths per thousand — there will be approximately 816,000 annual Hispanic deaths in the United States.


816,000 annual deaths would equal about one-fourth of all United States deaths today.


Funeral Director Daily take:  That’s a lot of numbers. . . but the purpose of this article is not to put you through an exercise for math class.  The purpose is to give you this information to see how significant the growth of your business could be if you were to capture a large percentage of this future clientele at your business.


In this 2020 dated article from US Funerals Online the author states that many funeral homes are already “. . .adding “Se habla español” to their advertising literature, and seeking to employ Spanish-speaking funeral directors with some knowledge of Latino death customs. “


The article continues with this statement, “In the last four years SCI (Service Corporation International) has transformed 21 funeral homes to carry the Hispanic theme in Los Angeles, Texas and Chicago, according to the vice president of SCI’s Hispana division. At least three more locations in Phoenix and Tucson are now also converted to carry the Hispanic theme.

With the Hispanic population set to continue to increase at dramatic rates, and forecast to reach over 102 million by 2050, it is certain that there is a significantly growing market that must be catered for.”


I’ve always thought that statistics are statistics and that the funeral business is truly a “local business”.  However, as an owner or manager of a business, when you see the trends emerging in future business potential in your community, it is never too early to try to put a plan in place to prosper from that trend.  If you see a demographic trend emerging in your community now is the time to plan.


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