The consequences of underage drinking among Hispanic youth are serious and disturbing. In a context of overexposure of youth in general to alcohol advertising as compared to adults, the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth's report Exposure of Hispanic Youth to Alcohol Advertising documents that Hispanic youth ages 12-20 were not only significantly exposed to alcohol advertising, but were in fact more exposed to alcohol advertising in 2002 than were non-Hispanic youth.1
Hispanic youth are rapidly growing in numbers and increasingly setting trends for other youth.
• As of the 2000 U.S. Census, Hispanic youth ages 12-20 had become the largest ethnic youth population.2 By the end of the decade, nearly one in five young people (19% of ages 10-19) in the United States will be Hispanic.3
• The Hispanic community is largely bilingual. In general, however, within the Hispanic population that is measured by bilingual surveys, youth are more likely to be conversant with English and to use English-language media than are adults.4
• The rapid growth of the Hispanic youth population has led one researcher to conclude that, "[m]arketing to Hispanics is marketing to the youth market."5
Hispanic young people were exposed to more alcohol advertising in English-language media6 than non-Hispanic young people.
• In 2001, youth across the United States were exposed to 45% more beer and ale advertising, 27% more distilled spirits advertising and 60% more "low-alcohol refresher"7 advertising in magazines than adults.8
• In 2002, Hispanic youth saw even more alcohol advertising in English-language magazines than non-Hispanic youth: 24% more beer and ale magazine advertising, 24% more distilled spirits magazine advertising and 32% more magazine advertising for malternatives, alcopops, and other low-alcohol refreshers.9
• The average Hispanic youth saw 138 alcohol ads in English-language magazines in 2002, while the average non-Hispanic youth saw 121.10
On the radio
• Youth across the United States heard 8% more beer and ale advertising, 12% more low-alcohol refresher advertising, and 14% more distilled spirits advertising on the radio than adults 21+ in the sample of 19 radio markets measured in 2001 and 2002.11
• Hispanic youth heard more English-language radio alcohol advertising in 2002 than non-Hispanic youth: 11% more for distilled spirits brands, 14% more for "low-alcohol refresher" brands, and just as much as non-Hispanic youth for beer and ale brands.12
• In five media markets in 2002—San Antonio, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, and San Francisco—Hispanic youth were overexposed to English-language radio alcohol advertising even more than non-Hispanic youth. These five markets were also among seven markets that accounted for 85% of alcohol advertising spending on Spanish-language television.13
• Alcohol ads appeared in 2002 on 12 of the 15 programs in English and Spanish that were most popular with Hispanic youth, including Vias Del Amor, Ver Para Creer, That ‘70s Show, and MadTV.14
• The beer and ale industry was the seventh highest-spending industry on Spanish-language television in 2002, outspending the makers of cars, soft drinks, and motion pictures.15
Prevalence and consequences of underage drinking among Hispanic youth:
• Hispanic young people are more likely to drink and to get drunk at an earlier age than non-Hispanic white or African-American young people.16
• Alcohol use contributes to the three leading causes of death among Hispanic 12-20-year-olds: unintentional injuries (including car crashes), homicide and suicide.17
• Hispanic high school students are more likely than non-Hispanic white or African-American students to report riding in a car with a driver who had been drinking.18
• Alcohol was the most common drug for which Hispanics 18-24 years of age sought addiction treatment in 1999.19
Updated July 2005
1For this fact sheet, unless otherwise noted, youth are defined as persons ages 12-20, and adults are defined as persons age 21 and over.
2Calculated from U.S. Census Bureau, (cited 16 April 2003).
3U.S. Census Bureau, Projections of the Total Resident Population by 5-Year Age Groups, Race, and Hispanic Origin with Special Age Categories: Middle Series, 2006 to 2010, (cited 7 April 2003).
4Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, Exposure of Hispanic Youth to Alcohol Advertising (Washington, DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2003), 4.
5Peter Roslow, president of Roslow Research Group, quoted in J.D. Zbar, "Hispanic teens set urban beat: Newfound pride breeds confidence; non-Hispanic friends brush up on Spanish," Advertising Age (25 June 2001).
6See Exposure of Hispanic Youth to Alcohol Advertising, pages 4-6, for more information on Hispanic youth usage of different language media. Comparisons are made here between Hispanic youth and "all other youth" in order to quantify the exposure of Hispanic youth in English-language media.
7Many of the beverages in the low-alcohol refreshers category contain 5% alcohol, more than most beers.
8Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, Overexposed: Youth a Target of Alcohol Advertising in Magazines (Washington DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2002), 1.
9Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, Exposure of Hispanic Youth to Alcohol Advertising (Washington DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2003), 1.
11Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, Radio Daze: Alcohol Ads Tune in Underage Youth (Washington DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2003), 5.
12Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, Exposure of Hispanic Youth to Alcohol Advertising, 2.
14These are the 15 primetime, regularly scheduled programs drawing the largest numbers of Hispanic youth in February 2003. Ibid, 2.
16L.D. Johnston, P.M. O'Malley, J.G. Bachman and J.E. Schulenberg, Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975-2003, Volume 1: Secondary School Students (Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2003), Table 4-9.
17National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, "10 Leading Causes of Death, United States: 2002, All Races, Hispanic Both Sexes," from WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, 1999-2002, (cited 14 Feb 2005); National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2004), 60-61.
18Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Online Comprehensive Results, using the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (cited 14 February 2005).
19Drug and Alcohol Services Information System, The DASIS Report: Hispanics in Substance Abuse Treatment: 1999 (Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 20 Sept 2002) (cited 7 April 2003).