NEW YORK (AP) - The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. is expected to nearly double this year from 2002.
That's the finding of a study released Friday by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Geoscape, a company that provides demographics data. The study, which analyzes U.S. census data and other information, projects there will be nearly 3.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the country in 2013, up from nearly 1.7 million in 2002.
The study also forecasts that the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in what it calls the South Atlantic region - Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida - will surpass the number in the Pacific region, which includes the West Coast and Alaska and Hawaii.
The study projects that there will be more than 866,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in the South Atlantic this year, compared with nearly 796,000 in the Pacific.
The surge in Hispanic-owned businesses reflects the rapid growth of the Hispanic population. The number of Hispanics counted in the U.S. census in 2012 rose 2.2 percent from 2011 to 53 million.