MENDOTA – Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture.
The observance was born in 1968 when Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles and signed into law that year by President Lyndon Johnson. Just two decades later in 1988, lawmakers expanded it to a month-long celebration, which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
The timing is key. Hispanic Heritage Month — like its shorter precursor — always starts on Sept. 15, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, who all declared independence in 1821. The designated period is also a nod to those from Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
The following statistics are available thanks to the public’s invaluable participation in U.S. Census Bureau surveys. The Bureau appreciates the information shared by each respondent as they continuously count and measure America’s people, places and economy.
Did You Know?
60.6 million: The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2019 is 60.6 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constituted 18.5 percent of the nation’s total population. (U.S. Census Bureau)
12: There were 12 states with a population of 1 million or more Hispanic residents in 2019 – Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. (U.S. Census Bureau)
29.8: The median age of the Hispanic population is 29.8, up from 27.3 in 2010. (U.S. Census Bureau)
Medal of Honor: The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 61 people of Hispanic heritage. (Wikipedia)
College Experience: About 41 percent of U.S. Hispanic adults ages 25 and older had at least some college experience in 2018, up from 36 percent in 2010. The share who have a bachelor’s degree or more education also increased during this period, from 13 percent to 17 percent. (Pew Research Center)
English Proficiency: In 2018, 71 percent of Latinos ages 5 and older spoke English proficiently, up from 59 percent in 2000. U.S.-born Latinos are driving this growth, as their share on this measure has grown from 81 percent to 90 percent during this time. By comparison, 37 percent of Latino immigrants spoke English proficiently in 2018, a percentage that has increased only slightly since 1980. (Pew Research Center)
U.S. Citizens: As of 2018, about 80 percent of Latinos living in the country are U.S. citizens, up from 74 percent in 2010. This includes people born in the U.S. and its territories (including Puerto Rico), people born abroad to American parents and immigrants who have become naturalized citizens. Among the origin groups, virtually all Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Spaniards (91 percent), Panamanians (89 percent) and Mexicans (80 percent) have some of the highest citizenship rates, while Hondurans (53 percent) and Venezuelans (51 percent) have the lowest rates. (Pew Research Center)