Updates To The Hispanic Modern Family

Sofia Vergara’s Modern Family character, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, is arguably the most recognized Latina mom in popular culture today. In some ways, she is very non-representative of modern Latinas — she is super wealthy, married to an older Caucasian man, and Colombian. In other ways, she is representative — she’s a single mother with more than one child and emphasizes Spanish-language and country of origin traditions on her children. Given her mixed representation, what are the tenets of modern Hispanic families in the U.S. today?

Familismo, or Familism, is considered one of the core values of Hispanics. Often used to define the cultural distinctiveness of Hispanics vs. non-Hispanics, Familism describes the cultural collectivist perspective, the hierarchical order, and often the gender role stratification of Hispanic culture. In a recent study of Hispanics and Family, we find that Hispanics “…are more likely to live in family households than are non-Hispanic whites or blacks.”



The family households of Hispanics are slightly larger and much more likely to be extended than those of non-Hispanic whites. At the same time, the figures for family structure and children’s living arrangements show that traditional two-parent families are not more common among Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites. In fact, female family headship and one-parent living arrangements for children are considerably more prevalent among Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites,” according to Hispanics and the Future of America.

The notion of family for Hispanics is not immune from shifts that are occurring in broader society. These shifts include delayed or never-consummated marriages and single female heads of household on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which measures attitudes and trends in U.S. households:

  • In 2011-13, three-quarters of women (74.7%) and men (75.9%) agreed, “It is okay to have and raise children when the parents are living together but not married.” 
  • A higher percentage of women ages 25-34 (81.6%) agreed with the statement, “It is okay for an unmarried female to have and raise a child,” compared with those ages 15-24 (76.5%), but the difference in percentages between women ages 15-24 (76.5%) and 35-44 (76.8%) was not significant. 

These attitudes are redefining the notion of traditional family for Hispanics. The decline of the traditional nuclear family is also happening in Mexico, where married couples have decreased, “free unions” have increased, and divorce has been on the rise for the past 50 years. 

While marketers can still appeal to aspirational notions of Familism in advertising, consideration should be given to (relevant) customer journeys and needs of female heads of household, specifically. As mentioned in previous articles, the rise of the independent Latina is showing up in many ways, and the redefinition of the traditional Hispanic family is a structural shift that is reinforcing the modern family.

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