Hispanic Heritage Month 2008: Sept. 15 – Oct. 15


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usaIn September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, which was observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a monthlong celebration (Sept. 15 –  Oct. 15). America celebrates the culture and  traditions of those who trace their roots to  Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

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45.5 million
The estimated Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2007, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 15 percent of the nation’s total population. In addition, there are approximately 3.9 million residents of Puerto Rico.

About 1 of every two people added to the nation’s population between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, was Hispanic. There were 1.4 million Hispanics added to the population during the period.

Percentage increase in the Hispanic population between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, making Hispanics the fastest-growing minority group.

132.8 million
The projected Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 30 percent of the nation’s population by that date.

22.4 million
The nation’s Hispanic population during the 1990 Census — less than half the current total.

Ranking of the size of the U.S. Hispanic population worldwide, as of 2007. Only Mexico (108.7 million) had a larger Hispanic population than did the United States (45.5 million). (Spain had a population of 40.4 million.)

The percentage of Hispanic-origin people in the United States who are of Mexican background. Another 9 percent are of Puerto Rican background, with 3.4 percent Cuban, 3.1 percent Salvadoran and 2.8 percent Dominican. The remainder are of some other Central American, South American or other Hispanic or Latino origin.

About 50 percent of the nation’s Dominicans live in New York City and about half of the nation’s Cubans in Miami-Dade County, Fla.

27.6 years
Median age of the Hispanic population in 2007. This compares with 36.6 years for the population as a whole.

Number of Hispanic males in 2007 per every 100 Hispanic females. This was in sharp contrast to the overall population, which had 97 males per every 100 females.

States and Counties

The percentage of the Hispanic-origin population that lives in California or Texas. California is home to 13.2 million Hispanics, and Texas is home to 8.6 million.

The number of states with at least a half-million Hispanic residents. They are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

The percentage of New Mexico’s population that is Hispanic, the highest of any state. Hispanics also make up more than a quarter of the population in California and Texas, at 36 percent each, Arizona (30 percent) and Nevada (25 percent).

4.7 million
The Hispanic population of Los Angeles County, Calif., in 2007 — the largest of any county in the nation. Maricopa County, Ariz. (home of Phoenix) had the biggest numerical increase in the Hispanic population (60,700) since July 2006.

Proportion of the population of Starr County, Texas, that was Hispanic as of 2007, which led the nation. In fact, each of the top 10 counties in this category was in Texas.

The increase in Texas’ Hispanic population between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, which led all states. California (268,000) and Florida (131,000) also recorded large increases.

Number of states in which Hispanics are the largest minority group. These states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.


1.6 million
The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002.

The rate of growth of Hispanic-owned businesses between 1997 and 2002 (31 percent) compared with the national average (10 percent) for all businesses.

$222 billion
Revenue generated by Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002, up 19 percent from 1997.

. . . of all Hispanic-owned firms were owned by Mexicans, Mexican-Americans and Chicanos.

Number of Hispanic-owned firms with receipts of $1 million or more.

  • Nearly 43 percent of Hispanic-owned firms operated in construction; administrative and support, and waste management and remediation services; and other services, such as personal services, and repair and maintenance. Retail and wholesale trade accounted for nearly 36 percent of Hispanic-owned business revenue.
  • Counties with the highest number of Hispanic-owned firms were Los Angeles County (188,422); Miami-Dade County (163,187); and Harris County, Texas (61,934).

Families and Children

9.9 million
The number of Hispanic family households in the United States in 2006. Of these households, 62 percent included children younger than 18.

The percentage of Hispanic family households consisting of a married couple.

The percentage of Hispanic family households consisting of a married couple with children younger than 18.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements

Percentage of Hispanic children living with two married parents.

Percentage of total population younger than 5 that was Hispanic as of July 1, 2007.

Spanish Language

34 million
The number of U.S. residents 5 and older who speak Spanish at home. Spanish speakers constitute 12 percent of U.S. residents.

Percentage of Texas residents 5 and older who speak Spanish at home, which leads all states. (The percentage for Texas is not significantly different from that of New Mexico, however.) This compares with the national average of 12 percent.

Percentage of Hispanics 5 and older who speak Spanish at home.

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

The median income of Hispanic households in 2007, statistically unchanged from the previous year after adjusting for inflation.

The poverty rate among Hispanics in 2007, up from 20.6 percent in 2006.

The percentage of Hispanics who lacked health insurance in 2007, down from 34.1 percent in 2006.


The percentage of Hispanics 25 and older who had at least a high school education in 2007.

The percentage of the Hispanic population 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2007.

3.3 million
The number of Hispanics 18 and older who had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2007, up from 1.7 million a decade earlier.

Number of Hispanics 25 and older with advanced degrees in 2007 (e.g., master’s, professional, doctorate).

Percentage of all college students in October 2006 who were Hispanic. Among elementary and high school students combined, the corresponding proportion was 19 percent.

Educational attainment levels are higher among certain Hispanic groups than among others. For example, among Cubans 25 and older, 75 percent were at least high school graduates, and 26 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.


Percentage of Hispanics 16 and older who are in the civilian labor force.

The percentage of Hispanics 16 or older who work in management, professional and related occupations. Roughly the same percentage work in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations (although this percentage is significantly lower than for those in management, professional and related occupations). Approximately 24 percent of Hispanics 16 or older work in service occupations; 22 percent in sales and office occupations; 2 percent in farming, fishing and forestry occupations; and 18 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations.

Number of Hispanic chief executives. In addition, 46,200 physicians and surgeons; 53,600 postsecondary teachers; 43,000 lawyers; and 5,700 news analysts, reporters and correspondents are Hispanic.


7.6 million
The number of Hispanic citizens who reported voting in the 2004 presidential election. The percentage of Hispanic citizens voting — about 47 percent — did not change statistically from four years earlier.

5.6 million
The number of Hispanic citizens who reported voting in the 2006 congressional elections. The percentage of Hispanic citizens voting — about 32 percent — did not change statistically from four years earlier.

Serving our Country

1.1 million`
The number of Hispanic veterans of the U.S. armed forces. 

Sources: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/012245.html


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