Fact Checkers: Group's Claims on Hispanic Businesses Overstated

Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 09:05 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Hispanic businesses are growing at twice the national rate — not at the pace claimed by a conservative Hispanic group, a fact-checking website has found.

The claim was made by Libre Initiative, a nonprofit group founded in 2011 that has ties to the Koch brothers and that seeks to reach the Hispanic community.

The group said that "the start-up rate of Hispanic businesses is three times the national rate," PolitiFact reports.

Census Bureau data from a 2006 report appear to back that claim, according to PolitiFact, which is a service of The Tampa Bay Times.

The national average growth rate for all businesses was 10 percent between 1997 and 2000, according to the data. But the growth rate for companies owned by Hispanics was 31 percent during that same period.

But a later Census report — released in 2010 and covering the next five years, from 2002 to 2007 — debunked Libre Initiative's claim, PolitiFact reports.

That report showed Hispanic business growth remained strong during those years, at 43.7 percent compared to the overall business growth rate of 18 percent.

However, that represented a Hispanic rate that is slightly more than twice the national rate — not three times, as Libre Initiative says.

Further, a report released last year by Geoscape, a Miami-based business intelligence firm, and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce found that the average annual increase in Hispanic-owned companies from 2007 to 2013 was 6.66 percent. That compared with a 3.14 percent annual growth rate among all U.S. businesses.

Again, the Hispanic growth rate is a little more than twice the national rate, PolitiFact reports.

"The Hispanic population has been starting and growing new businesses at nearly twice the rate of the general population, and this trend has continued for more than 10 years," PolitiFact quoted the Geoscape-chamber report as saying.

"We found data that showed the number of Hispanic-owned businesses growing at three times the national rate between 1997 and 2002," PolitiFact concluded, referencing the 2006 Census information. "However, more recent data shows a growth rate of Hispanic-owned businesses that's closer to twice the national rate."

"We rate this claim 'half true,'" PolitiFact reports.

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