What About Papi? Besides Latina Moms...Hispanic Dads Also Driving Household Spending

Posted: Apr 21 2014

“Hey hijo, what would you like for dinner?”I overheard this said in the grocery store by a nicely dressed gentleman in the bread aisle.  He was directing this to his son, who looked to be about 8 or 9 years old.  His son said “papi, I want pizza”.  I looked around – and being my snoopy self – noticed the gentleman was not wearing a wedding ring, meaning he was very likely single – or a cohabitating dad.  (Cohabiting = a single dad living with someone else who he is not married to).  There’s so much coverage these days about the latina mom and the influence she has on her family (both now – and her growing influence in future decades).  I’ve been reading so much about the latina mom these days, and seeing how the various brands – Quaker, Verizon, Huggies are partnering to try and reach her.

Then I started wondering - but what about the Hispanic/Latino dad?  What’s he up to? And is anyone paying attention to him?

The answer is he is there – and actually in much greater numbers than he is getting credit for these days.

Single Fathers

In a study done by the Pew Research Center – 20% of Hispanic males are single fathers – among household heads who are fathers.  More than I expected - it's alot! That’s 1 out of every 5 single fathers that’s Hispanic. (Compare that to 22% of Latina moms who are single parents.)

These fathers are not only guiding the growth of their kids but also playing both the mom and dad in that relationship – especially if they are not cohabitating.  According to the study 18% of Hispanic single fathers – are not cohabitating.  Meaning – that they are single, and raising their kids on their own.

There are numerous studies on the Latina mom – her preferences, what she is doing – but what about the Hispanic dad?  He is there, he exists, and certainly is striving to raise the best kids he can.  His interests may be slightly different than the Latina mom – but certainly in parenting will be seeking to raise good kids in an ambicultural world.

Hispanic Fathers

I think fathers deal with very similar issues – as compared to latina moms with regards to raising kids bilingual, getting them graduated from school etc.  Of course, oftentimes it may be on a different level – as Hispanic fathers are typically the breadwinners, even in a traditional female – male family household.  Looking back at my childhood growing up with my Hispanic dad, as well as the other latino dads that were my friends dads – I remember that they all wanted the best for us.  In many cases while my dad was working during the week – he made every effort to be there the rest of the time, by either paying for extracurricular classes, taking me to father-daughter activities, or even introducing me to new food/cultures (think sushi – in San Antonio – when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s–  sushi was truly something “new” to the Mexican-American culture of San Antonio).  Same for other Hispanic dads I grew up knowing, who were always encouraging their kids to do/be their best.

So my point is – Hispanic fathers, even Hispanic fathers exist in our culture - and they also drive Hispanic family choices.  And I intend to continue talking about Hispanic fathers in the future – as I think it’s a niche in our culture that is not getting the attention it deserves.

This is thanks to the fact – that I will be forever grateful – to the wonderful Hispanic dad in my life who supported me growing up. (Helping me shop for a baseball uniform, pick out internships, perform in sports meets, prepare for job interviews, ask about school, try to help me with my homework, pay my bills etc.) 

-Hispanic.com staff


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