Hispanic and Latino Americans

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Hispanic or Latino
Hispanic and Latino Americans Wikipedia.png
Total population
Hispanic or Latino
16.88% of the U.S. population (2012)[1]
Regions with significant populations
All areas of the United States
Spanish  • English  • Indigenous languages
Predominantly Roman Catholicism;[2]
large minority of Protestantism[2] · Indigenous religion · Jehovah's Witnesses · Mormonism
Judaism, Islam, Agnosticism · Atheism[2][3]
Related ethnic groups
Latin Americans, Native Americans, Haitian Americans, Belizean Americans, White Latin Americans, Criollos, Afro-Latin Americans, Asian Latin Americans, Mestizos, Métis, Mulattoes, Pardos, Castizos and others. It is important to note that some of the prior groups i.e. Belizean Americans and Haitian Americans are not officially considered Hispanic or Latinos by the U.S. Government and are not included in any official surveys [4]
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Not to be confused with Latin Americans or the inhabitants of Hispanic America.
Hispanic or Latino
Hispanic and Latino Americans Wikipedia.png
Total population
Hispanic or Latino
16.88% of the U.S. population (2012)[1]
Regions with significant populations
All areas of the United States
Spanish  • English  • Indigenous languages
Predominantly Roman Catholicism;[2]
large minority of Protestantism[2] · Indigenous religion · Jehovah's Witnesses · Mormonism
Judaism, Islam, Agnosticism · Atheism[2][3]
Related ethnic groups
Latin Americans, Native Americans, Haitian Americans, Belizean Americans, White Latin Americans, Criollos, Afro-Latin Americans, Asian Latin Americans, Mestizos, Métis, Mulattoes, Pardos, Castizos and others. It is important to note that some of the prior groups i.e. Belizean Americans and Haitian Americans are not officially considered Hispanic or Latinos by the U.S. Government and are not included in any official surveys [4]

Hispanics Spanish: hispanos [isˈpanos], hispánicos [isˈpanikos], or Latinos latinos are an ethnolinguistic group of Americans with origins in the countries of Latin America and Spain.[5][6][7] More generally it includes all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14] Latin American population has origins in all the continents and has ancestries including many Native American cultures,[15] Hispanic and Latino Americans are separate terms that are racially diverse, and as a result form an ethnic category, rather than a race.[13][16][17][18] In the 2010 Census, 53% Hispanics in the US self-identified as white, while 37% were Mestizos.

While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, Hispanic is a narrower term and refers mostly to persons of Spanish-speaking ancestry, while Latino is more frequently used to refer more generally to anyone of Latin American origin or ancestry, including Brazilians.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30] Hispanic thus includes Spanish speaking Latin Americans countries, excluding Brazilians (who speak Portuguese) while Latino includes both Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking Latin Americans, but excluding Spain. The choice between the terms Latino and Hispanic among those of Spanish speaking ancestry is also associated with location: persons of Spanish speaking ancestry residing in the eastern United States tend to prefer the term Hispanic, whereas those in the West tend to prefer Latino.[12]

It is important to note that some of the prior groups such as Belizean Americans and Haitian Americans are not officially considered Hispanic or Latinos by the U.S. Government and are not included in any official surveys. Only the peoples from Spanish speaking Europe and the Spanish speaking Americas are officially considered Hispanic or Latinos. While recent books have suggested the expansion of this group, they have do not hold legal authority to change the official U.S. Census definition, which created this ethnic group.[4]

Hispanics or Latinos constitute 16.9% of the total United States population, or 53 million people,.[31] This figure includes 38 million Hispanophone Americans, making the US home to the largest community of Spanish speakers outside of Mexico according to the Pew Research Hispanic Center, having surpassed Argentina, Colombia, and Spain within the last decade.[32] Latinos overall are the second largest ethnic group, after non-Hispanic White Americans (a group composed of dozens of sub-groups, as is Hispanic and Latino Americans).[33] Hispanic and Latino Americans are the largest of all the minority groups, but Black Americans are the largest minority among the races, after White Americans in general (non-Hispanic and Hispanic).[34] Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, Colombian Americans, Dominican Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, Spanish Americans, and Salvadoran Americans are some of the Hispanic and Latino American national origin groups.[35]

There have been people of Hispanic or Latino heritage in the territory of the present-day United States continuously[36][37][38][39] since the 1565 founding of St. Augustine, Florida, by the Spanish, the longest among European American ethnic groups and second-longest of all U.S. ethnic groups, after Native Americans to inhabit what is today the United States. Hispanics have also lived continuously in the Southwest since near the end of the 16th century, with settlements in New Mexico that began in 1598, and which were transferred to the area of El Paso, Texas, in 1680.[40] Spanish settlement of New Mexico resumed in 1692, and new ones were established in Arizona and California in the 18th century.[41][42] The Hispanic presence can even be said to date from half a century earlier than St. Augustine, if San Juan, Puerto Rico is considered to be the oldest Spanish settlement, and the oldest city, in the U.S.[43]


The term Hispanic was adopted by the United States government in the early 1970s during the administration of Richard Nixon[44] after the Hispanic members of an interdepartmental Ad Hoc Committee to develop racial and ethnic definitions recommended that a universal term encompassing all Hispanic subgroups—including Central and South Americans—be adopted.[45] As the 1970 census did not include a question on Hispanic origin on all census forms—instead relying on a sample of the population via an extended form ("Is this person's origin or descent: Mexican; Puerto Rican; Cuban; Central or South American; Other Spanish; or None of these")[46]—the members of the Ad Hoc Committee wanted a common designation to better track the social and economic progress of the group vis-à-vis the general population.[45] The designation has since been used in local and federal employment, mass media, academia, and business market research. It has been used in the U.S. Census since 1980.[47] Because of the popularity of "Latino" in the western portion of the United States, the government adopted this term as well in 1997, and used it in the 2000 census.[12][13]

Previously, Hispanic and Latino Americans were categorized as "Spanish-Americans", "Spanish speaking Americans", and "Spanish surnamed Americans". However:

Neither term refers to race, as a person of Latino or Hispanic origin can be of any race.[13][51]

The U.S. government has defined Hispanic or Latino persons as being "persons who trace their origin [to] ...Central and South America, and other Spanish cultures".[12] The Census Bureau's 2010 census does provide a definition of the terms Latino or Hispanic and is as follows: “Hispanic or Latino” refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. It allows respondents to self-define whether they were Latino or Hispanic and then identify their specific country or place of origin.[52] On its website, the Census Bureau defines "Hispanic" or "Latino" persons as being "persons who trace their origin [to]... Spanish speaking Central and South America countries, and other Spanish cultures".[12][13][53]

These definitions thus arguably does not include Brazilian Americans,[12][13][54] especially since the Census Bureau classifies Brazilian Americans as a separate ancestry group from Hispanic or Latino.[55] The 28 Hispanic or Latino American groups in the Census Bureau's reports are the following:[13][35][56] Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican; Central American: Costa Rican, Guatemalan, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Salvadoran, Other Central American; South American: Argentinian, Bolivian, Chilean, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Paraguayan, Peruvian, Uruguayan, Venezuelan, Other South American; Other Hispanic or Latino: Spaniard, Spanish, Spanish American, All other Hispanic.

One dictionary of American English maintains a distinction between the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino":

Though often used interchangeably in American English, Hispanic and Latino are not identical terms, and in certain contexts the choice between them can be significant. Hispanic, from the Latin word for "Spain," ...potentially encompass[es] all Spanish speaking peoples in both hemispheres and emphasiz[es] the common denominator of language among communities that sometimes have little else in common. Latino—which in Spanish means "Latin" but which as an English word is probably a shortening of the Spanish and Portuguese word latinoamericano—refers ...to persons or communities of Latin American origin. Of the two, only Latino can be used to refer to Brazilians, who are Latin American, but who do not speak Spanish, and only Hispanic can be used in referring to Spain and its history and culture; a native of Spain residing in the United States is a Hispanic, not a Latino, and one cannot substitute Latino in the phrase the Hispanic influence on native Mexican cultures without garbling the meaning. In practice, however, this distinction is of little significance when referring to residents of the United States, most of whom are of Latin American origin and can theoretically be called by either word.[57]

The AP Stylebook states that Latino is often the preferred term for a person from – or whose ancestors were from – a Spanish speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latina is the feminine form. Follow the person's preference. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian or Mexican-American. Of Hispanic the AP Stylebook states: Hispanic – A person from – or whose ancestors were from – a Spanish speaking land or culture. Latino and Latina are sometimes preferred. Follow the person’s preference.[30] Some federal and local government agencies and non-profit organizations may include Brazilians and Portuguese in their definition of Hispanic. The U.S. Department of Transportation defines Hispanic as, "persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race".[8] This definition has been adopted by the Small Business Administration as well as by many federal, state, and municipal agencies for the purposes of awarding government contracts to minority owned businesses.[9]

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which was founded by Hispanic Puerto Rican Herman Badillo, and the Congressional Hispanic Conference include representatives of Spanish and Portuguese descent and Hispanic and Latino Americans. The Hispanic Society of America is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal, and Latin America. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, which proclaims itself the champion of Hispanic success in higher education, has member institutions in the US, Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. Even though the term "Hispanic" is related to "Spanish," many Hispanic Americans do not speak Spanish.


Historical population
Est. 201252,961,0174.9%
Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine, Florida. Built in 1672 by the Spanish, it is the oldest masonry fort in the United States.
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, 16th century Spanish admiral who founded the first European settlement in North America (Saint Augustine, Florida).
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the first European explorer to set foot in California.

16th and 17th century[edit]

A continuous Hispanic/Latino presence in the territory of the United States has existed since the 16th century,[36][37][38][39] earlier than any other group after the Native Americans. Spaniards pioneered the present-day United States. The first confirmed European landing in the continental U.S. was by Juan Ponce de León, who landed in 1513 at a lush shore he christened La Florida.

Within three decades of Ponce de León's landing, the Spanish became the first Europeans to reach the Appalachian Mountains, the Mississippi River, the Grand Canyon and the Great Plains. Spanish ships sailed along the East Coast, penetrating to present-day Bangor, Maine, and up the Pacific Coast as far as Oregon. From 1528 to 1536, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and three other castaways from a Spanish expedition (including an African named Estevanico) journeyed all the way from Florida to the Gulf of California, 267 years before the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

In 1540 Hernando de Soto undertook an extensive exploration of the present U.S., and in the same year Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led 2,000 Spaniards and Mexican Indians across today's Arizona–Mexico border and traveled as far as central Kansas, close to the exact geographic center of what is now the continental United States. Other Spanish explorers of the US make up a long list that includes, among others: Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón, Pánfilo de Narváez, Sebastián Vizcaíno, Gaspar de Portolà, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Tristán de Luna y Arellano and Juan de Oñate, but also non-Spanish explorers working for the Spanish Crown like Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. In all, Spaniards probed half of today's lower 48 states before the first English colonization attempt at Roanoke Island in 1585.

The Spanish created the first permanent European settlement in the continental United States, at St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565. Santa Fe, New Mexico also predates Jamestown, Virginia (founded in 1607) and Plymouth Colony (of Mayflower and Pilgrims fame; founded in 1620). Later came Spanish settlements in San Antonio, Texas, Tucson, Arizona, San Diego, California, Los Angeles, California and San Francisco, California, to name just a few.

18th and 19th century[edit]

Two iconic American stories have Spanish antecedents, too. Almost 80 years before John Smith's alleged rescue by Pocahontas, a man by the name of Juan Ortiz told of his remarkably similar rescue from execution by an Indian girl. Spaniards also held a thanksgiving—56 years before the famous Pilgrims festival—when they feasted near St. Augustine with Florida Indians, probably on stewed pork and garbanzo beans. As late as 1783, at the end of the American Revolutionary War (a conflict in which Spain aided and fought alongside the United States), Spain held claim to roughly half of today's continental United States. From 1819 to 1848, the United States (through treaties, purchase, diplomacy, and the Mexican-American War) increased its area by roughly a third at Spanish and Mexican expense, acquiring three of today's four most populous states—California, Texas and Florida.

20th century[edit]

The Hispanic and Latino role in the history and present of the United States is addressed in more detail below (See Notables and their contributions). On September 17, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated a week in mid-September as National Hispanic Heritage Week, with Congress's authorization. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended the observance to a month, designated Hispanic Heritage Month.[59]


Population by national origin
(self-identified ethnicity, rather than birthplace)[60]
Hispanic GroupPopulation% of Hispanics
Mexico Mexican31,798,25863.0
Puerto Rico Puerto Rican4,623,7169.2
Cuba Cuban1,785,5473.5
El Salvador Salvadoran1,648,9683.3
Dominican Republic Dominican1,414,7032.8
Guatemala Guatemalan1,044,2092.1
Colombia Colombian908,7341.8
Spain Spaniard635,2531.3
Honduras Honduran633,4011.3
Ecuador Ecuadorian564,6311.1
Peru Peruvian531,3581.1
Nicaragua Nicaraguan348,2020.7
Argentina Argentine224,9520.4
Venezuela Venezuelan215,0230.4
Panama Panamanian165,4560.3
Chile Chilean126,8100.3
Costa Rica Costa Rican126,4180.3
Bolivia Bolivian99,2100.2
Uruguay Uruguayan56,8840.1
Paraguay Paraguayan20,023-
All other3,505,8386.9

As of 2011, Hispanics accounted for 16.7% of the national population, or around 52 million people.[31] The Hispanic growth rate over the April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 period was 28.7%—about four times the rate of the nation's total population (at 7.2%).[61] The growth rate from July 1, 2005 to July 1, 2006 alone was 3.4%[62]—about three and a half times the rate of the nation's total population (at 1.0%).[61] Based on the 2010 census, Hispanics are now the largest minority group in 191 out of 366 metropolitan areas in the US.[63] The projected Hispanic population of the United States for July 1, 2050 is 132.8 million people, or 30.2% of the nation's total projected population on that date.[64]

Geographic distribution[edit]

The percentage of Hispanic or Latino residents by county.
Miami's Brickell neighborhood is known for its large concentration of wealthy Hispanics, largely of South American descent.

Of the nation's total Hispanic or Latino population, 49% (21.5 million) live in California or Texas.[65]

The majority of Mexican Americans are concentrated in the Southwest and the West Coast/West, primarily in California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. The majority of the Hispanic population in the Southeast and Great Plains (Plains States), concentrated in Florida, are of Cuban origin; However, the Mexican, Dominican and Puerto Rican populations have risen significantly in this region since the mid-1990s.

The Hispanic population in the Northeast, concentrated in New York, New Jersey, and Southeastern Pennsylvania, is composed mostly of Hispanics of Dominican and Puerto Rican origin. The remainder of Hispanics and Latinos may be found throughout the country, though South Americans tend to concentrate on the East Coast and Central Americans on the West Coast. Nevertheless, since the 1990s, several cities on the East Coast have seen often impressive increases in their Mexican population, namely Miami and Philadelphia.

National origin[edit]

Actress Alexis Bledel is White Hispanic of Argentinian and Mexican heritage. Bledel grew up in a Spanish speaking household, and did not learn English until she began school.[66][67]

As of 2007, some 64% of the nation's Hispanic population are of Mexican origin (see table). Another 9% are of Puerto Rican origin, with about 3% each of Cuban, Salvadoran and Dominican origins. The remainder are of other Central American or South American origin, or of origin directly from Spain. 60.2% of all Hispanic and Latino Americans were born in the United States.[68]

There are few recent immigrants directly from Spain. In the 2000 Census, 299,948 Americans, of whom 83% were native-born,[69] specifically reported their ancestry as Spaniard.[70] Additionally, in the 2000 Census some 2,187,144 Americans reported "Spanish" as their ancestry.

In northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, there is a large portion of Hispanics who trace their ancestry to Spanish settlers of the late 16th century through the 17th century. People from this background often self-identify as "Hispanos", "Spanish", or "Hispanic". Many of these settlers also intermarried with local Amerindians, creating a Mestizo population.[71] Likewise, southern Louisiana is home to communities of people of Canary Islands descent, known as Isleños, in addition to other people of Spanish ancestry.


Hispanic or Latino origin is independent of race and is termed "ethnicity" by the United States Census Bureau.

The majority of Hispanic and Latino Americans are White. According to the 2007 American Community Survey, 92% of Hispanic and Latinos were White. The largest numbers of White Hispanics come from within the Argentine, Colombian, Cuban, Mexican, Spanish, and Venezuelan communities.[72][73]

A significant portion of the Hispanic and Latino population also identifies as Mestizo. Mestizo is not listed as a racial category in the U.S. Census. According to the 2010 United States Census, 36.7% of Hispanic/Latino Americans identify as "some other race", such as Mestizo American.[74]

Notable contributions[edit]

Myrtle González, famous for her silent films in the 1910s, is considered the first female Latin star in Hollywood.[75]

Hispanic and Latino Americans have made distinguished contributions to the United States in all major fields, such as politics, the military, music, literature, philosophy, sports, business and economy, and science.[76]

Arts and entertainment[edit]

In 1995, the American Latino Media Arts Award, or ALMA Award was created. It's a distinction given to Latino performers (actors, film and television directors, and musicians) by the National Council of La Raza.


There are many Hispanic American musicians that have achieved international fame, such as Jennifer López, Joan Baez, Linda Ronstadt, Carmen Miranda, Zack de la Rocha, Fergie, Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Kat DeLuna, Selena, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Carlos Santana, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, Pitbull, Los Lonely Boys, Frankie J, Jerry García, Robert Trujillo, Aventura and Tom Araya.

Among the Hispanic American musicians who were pioneers in the early stages of rock and roll were Ritchie Valens, who scored several hits, most notably "La Bamba" and Herman Santiago wrote the lyrics to the iconic rock and roll song "Why Do Fools Fall in Love". Another song that became popular in the United States and is heard during the Holiday/Christmas season is "Feliz Navidad" by José Feliciano.

The most prestigious Latin music awards in the United States are the Latin Grammy Awards, launched in 2000. Billboard Magazine also honors these artists, with the Billboard Latin Music Awards. The latter's nominees and winners are a result of performance on Billboard's sales and radio charts, while the Latin Grammy Awards nominees and winners are selected by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS).

Film, radio, television, and theatre[edit]

Hispanics and Latinos have also contributed some prominent actors and others in the film industry, a few of whom includes actors José Ferrer, the first Hispanic actor to win an Academy Award for his role in Cyrano de Bergerac, Anthony Quinn, Cameron Diaz, Martin Sheen, Cheech Marín, Salma Hayek, Dolores del Río, Anita Page, Rita Hayworth, Antonio Banderas, Raquel Welch, Benicio del Toro, Eva Mendes, Zoe Saldana, Edward James Olmos, Maria Montez, Ramón Novarro, Ricardo Montalbán, Cesar Romero, Rosie Perez, Katy Jurado, Rita Moreno, Lupe Vélez, Esai Morales, Andy García, Rosario Dawson, John Leguizamo, and, behind the camera, directors Robert Rodriguez, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Brett Ratner (also producers and cinematographers) and Luis Valdez.

In standup comedy, Paul Rodríguez, Greg Giraldo, Cheech Marin, George Lopez, Freddie Prinze, Carlos Mencia, John Mendoza, and others are prominent.

Some of the Hispanic or Latino actors who achieved notable success in U.S. television include Desi Arnaz, Lynda Carter, Jimmy Smits, Selena Gomez, Carlos Pena, Jr., Eva Longoria, Sofía Vergara, Benjamin Bratt, Ricardo Montalbán, America Ferrera, Erik Estrada, Cote de Pablo, Freddie Prinze, Lauren Vélez, and Charlie Sheen. Kenny Ortega is an Emmy Award-winning producer, director, and choreographer who has choreographed many major television events such as Super Bowl XXX, the 72nd Academy Awards, and Michael Jacksons memorial service.

Hispanics and Latinos are underrepresented in U.S. television, radio, and film. This is combatted by organizations such as the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA), founded in 1975; and National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), founded in 1986.[77] Together with numerous Latino civil rights organizations, the NHMC led a "brownout" of the national television networks in 1999, after discovering that there were no Latinos in any of their new prime time shows that year.[78] This resulted in the signing of historic diversity agreements with ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC that have since increased the hiring of Hispanic and Latino talent and other staff in all of the networks.

Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) funds programs of educational and cultural significance to Hispanic Americans. These programs are distributed to various public television stations throughout the United States.

Business and finance[edit]

See also: Hispanic 500
La Época is an upscale Miami department store founded and owned by Cuban-Americans.

The total number of Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002 was 1.6 million, having grown at triple the national rate for the preceding five years.[59]

U.S. Century Bank is one of the largest Hispanic-owned banks in the United States.[81]

Hispanic and Latino business leaders include Cuban immigrant Roberto Goizueta, who rose to head of The Coca-Cola Company.[82] Advertising magnate Arte Moreno became the first Hispanic to own a major league team in the United States when he purchased the Los Angeles Angels baseball club.[83] Also a major sports team owner is Linda G. Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc and co-owner of the Colorado Rockies baseball team.

The largest Hispanic-owned food company in the US is Goya Foods, because of World War II hero Joseph A. Unanue, the son of the company's founders.[84] Angel Ramos was the founder of Telemundo, Puerto Rico's first television station[85] and now the second largest Spanish-language television network in the United States, with an average viewership over one million in primetime. Samuel A. Ramirez, Sr. made Wall Street history by becoming the first Hispanic to launch a successful investment banking firm, Ramirez & Co.[86][87] Nina Tassler is president of CBS Entertainment since September 2004. She is the highest-profile Latina in network television and one of the few executives who has the power to approve the airing or renewal of series.


In the world of fashion, notable Hispanic and Latino designers include Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Narciso Rodríguez among others. Christy Turlington and Lea T achieved international fame as models.

Government and politics[edit]

As of 2007 there were more than five thousand elected officeholders in the United States who were of Latino origin.[88]

In the House of Representatives, Hispanic and Latino representatives have included Ladislas Lazaro, Antonio M. Fernández, Henry B. Gonzalez, Kika de la Garza, Herman Badillo, Romualdo Pacheco, and Manuel Lujan, Jr., out of almost two dozen former Representatives. Current Representatives include Luis Gutiérrez, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Nydia Velázquez, Joe Baca, Loretta Sanchez, Silvestre Reyes, Rubén Hinojosa, Linda Sánchez, and John Salazar—in all, they number twenty-three. Former senators are Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo, Mel Martinez, Dennis Chavez, Joseph Montoya, and Ken Salazar. As of January 2011, the U.S. Senate includes Hispanic members Bob Menendez, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican.[89]

Numerous Hispanics and Latinos hold elective and appointed office in state and local government throughout the United States.[90] Current Hispanic Governors include Republican Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Republican New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez; upon taking office in 2011, Martinez became the first Latina governor in the history of the United States.[91] Former Hispanic governors include Democrats Jerry Apodaca, Raul Hector Castro, and Bill Richardson, as well as Republicans Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo, Romualdo Pacheco, and Bob Martinez.

Since 1988,[92] when Ronald Reagan appointed Lauro Cavazos the Secretary of Education, the first Hispanic United States Cabinet member, Hispanic Americans have had an increasing presence in presidential administrations. Hispanics serving in subsequent cabinets include Ken Salazar, current Secretary of the Interior; Hilda Solis, current United States Secretary of Labor; Alberto Gonzales, former United States Attorney General; Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce; Federico Peña, former Secretary of Energy; Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Manuel Lujan, Jr., former Secretary of the Interior; and Bill Richardson, former Secretary of Energy and Ambassador to the United Nations. Six of the last ten US Treasurers, including the latest three, are Hispanic women.

In 2009, Sonia Sotomayor became the first Supreme Court Associate Justice of Hispanic or Latino origin.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, and the Congressional Hispanic Conference (CHC), founded on March 19, 2003, are two organizations that promote policy of importance to Americans of Hispanic descent. They are divided into the two major American political parties: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is composed entirely of Democratic representatives, whereas the Congressional Hispanic Conference is composed entirely of Republican representatives.

Literature and journalism[edit]

Books by Reinaldo Arenas, Isabel Allende, Sandra Cisneros, Ariel Dorfman, Jorge Majfud, Julia Alvarez, and Rudolfo Anaya

Among the distinguished Hispanic and Latino authors and their works may be noted:


Admiral David G Farragut, first Hispanic Admiral
Captain Marion Frederic Ramírez de Arellano the first Hispanic submarine commander.
Major General Luis R. Esteves, the first Hispanic to graduate from the United States Military Academy ("West Point").
Antonia Novello is the first woman and first Hispanic to serve as Surgeon General.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez at a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq
Rear Admiral Ronald J. Rábago, the first Hispanic to be promoted to Rear Admiral (lower half) in the United States Coast Guard

Hispanics and Latinos have participated in the military of the United States and in every major military conflict from the American Revolution onward.[94] Tens of thousands of Latinos are deployed in the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, and U.S. military missions and bases elsewhere. Hispanics and Latinos have not only distinguished themselves in the battlefields but also reached the high echelons of the military, serving their country in sensitive leadership positions on domestic and foreign posts. Up to now, 43 Hispanics and Latinos have been awarded the nation's highest military distinction, the Medal of Honor (also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor). The following is a list of some notable Hispanics/Latinos in the military:

American Revolution
American Civil War
World War I
World War II
Korean War
Cuban Missile Crisis
Vietnam War

Medal of Honor[edit]

The following 43 Hispanics were awarded the Medal of Honor:

Philip Bazaar, Joseph H. De Castro, John Ortega, France Silva, David B. Barkley, Lucian Adams, Rudolph B. Davila, Marcario Garcia, Harold Gonsalves, David M. Gonzales, Silvestre S. Herrera, Jose M. Lopez, Joe P. Martinez, Manuel Perez Jr., Cleto L. Rodriguez, Alejandro R. Ruiz, Jose F. Valdez, Ysmael R. Villegas, Fernando Luis García, Edward Gomez, Ambrosio Guillen, Rodolfo P. Hernandez, Baldomero Lopez, Benito Martinez, Eugene Arnold Obregon, Joseph C. Rodriguez, John P. Baca, Roy P. Benavidez, Emilio A. De La Garza, Ralph E. Dias, Daniel Fernandez, Alfredo Cantu "Freddy" Gonzalez, Jose Francisco Jimenez, Miguel Keith, Carlos James Lozada, Alfred V. Rascon, Louis R. Rocco, Euripides Rubio, Hector Santiago-Colon, Elmelindo Rodrigues Smith, Jay R. Vargas, Humbert Roque Versace, and Maximo Yabes.

National intelligence[edit]

Science and technology[edit]

Among Hispanic Americans who have excelled in science are Luis Walter Álvarez, Nobel Prize–winning physicist, and his son Walter Alvarez, a geologist. They first proposed that an asteroid impact on the Yucatán Peninsula caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Dr. Victor Manuel Blanco is an astronomer who in 1959 discovered "Blanco 1", a galactic cluster.[116] F. J. Duarte is a laser physicist and author; he received the Engineering Excellence Award from the prestigious Optical Society of America for the invention of the N-slit laser interferometer.[117] Francisco J. Ayala is a biologist and philosopher, former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been awarded the National Medal of Science and the Templeton Prize.

Laser physicist and author Francisco Javier Duarte

Dr. Fernando E. Rodríguez Vargas discovered the bacteria that cause dental cavity. Dr. Gualberto Ruaño is a biotechnology pioneer in the field of personalized medicine and the inventor of molecular diagnostic systems, Coupled Amplification and Sequencing (CAS) System, used worldwide for the management of viral diseases.[118] Fermín Tangüis was an agriculturist and scientist who developed the Tangüis Cotton in Peru and saved that nation's cotton industry.[119] Severo Ochoa, born in Spain, was a co-winner of the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Some Hispanics and Latinos have made their names in astronautics, including several NASA astronauts:[120] Franklin Chang-Diaz, the first Latin American NASA astronaut, is co-recordholder for the most flights in outer space, and is the leading researcher on the plasma engine for rockets; France A. Córdova, former NASA chief scientist; Juan R. Cruz, NASA aerospace engineer; Lieutenant Carlos I. Noriega, NASA mission specialist and computer scientist; Dr. Orlando Figueroa, mechanical engineer and Director of Mars Exploration in NASA; Amri Hernández-Pellerano, engineer who designs, builds and tests the electronics that will regulate the solar array power in order to charge the spacecraft battery and distribute power to the different loads or users inside various spacecraft at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Mercedes Reaves, research engineer and scientist who is responsible for the design of a viable full-scale solar sail and the development and testing of a scale model solar sail at NASA Langley Research Center. Dr. Pedro Rodríguez, inventor and mechanical engineer who is the director of a test laboratory at NASA and of a portable, battery-operated lift seat for people suffering from knee arthritis. Dr. Felix Soto Toro, electrical engineer and astronaut applicant who developed the Advanced Payload Transfer Measurement System (ASPTMS) (Electronic 3D measuring system); Ellen Ochoa, a pioneer of spacecraft technology and astronaut; Joseph Acaba, Fernando Caldeiro, Sidney Gutierrez, Jose Hernández, Michael López-Alegría, John Olivas, and George Zamka, who are current or former astronauts.


Miguel Cabrera is a professional baseball player.


The large number of Hispanic and Latino American stars in Major League Baseball (MLB) includes players like Ted Williams (considered by many to be the greatest hitter of all time), Miguel Cabrera, Lefty Gómez, Iván Rodríguez, Carlos González, Roberto Clemente, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Fernando Valenzuela, Nomar Garciaparra, Albert Pujols, Omar Vizquel, managers Al López, Ozzie Guillén, and Felipe Alou, and General Manager Omar Minaya.

Basketball and football[edit]

There have been far fewer football and basketball players, let alone star players, but Tom Flores was the first Hispanic head coach and the first Hispanic quarterback in American professional football, and won Super Bowls as a player, as assistant coach and as head coach for the Oakland Raiders. Anthony Múñoz is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, ranked #17 on Sporting News's 1999 list of the 100 greatest football players, and was the highest-ranked offensive lineman. Jim Plunkett won the Heisman Trophy and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and Joe Kapp is inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame. Steve Van Buren, Martin Gramatica, Victor Cruz, Tony Gonzalez, Marc Bulger, Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez can also be cited among successful Hispanics and Latinos in the National Football League (NFL).

Trevor Ariza, Mark Aguirre, Carmelo Anthony, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Arroyo, Gilbert Arenas, Rolando Blackman, Pau Gasol, Jose Calderon, José Juan Barea and Charlie Villanueva can be cited in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Dick Versace made history when he became the first person of Hispanic heritage to coach an NBA team. Rebecca Lobo was a major star and champion of collegiate (National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)) and Olympic basketball and played professionally in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). Diana Taurasi became just the seventh player ever to win an NCAA title, a WNBA title, and as well an Olympic gold medal. Orlando Antigua became in 1995 the first Hispanic and the first non-black in 52 years to play for the Harlem Globetrotters.


Tennis legend Pancho Gonzales and Olympic tennis champions and professional players Mary Joe Fernández and Gigi Fernández; soccer players in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna, Marcelo Balboa and Carlos Bocanegra; figure skater Rudy Galindo; golfers Chi Chi Rodríguez, Nancy López, and Lee Trevino; softball player Lisa Fernández; and Paul Rodríguez Jr., X Games professional skateboarder, are all Hispanic or Latino Americans who have distinguished themselves in their sports.

Other sports[edit]

Boxing's first Hispanic world champion was Panama Al Brown. Some other champions include Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Bobby Chacon, Joel Casamayor, Michael Carbajal, John Ruiz, and Carlos Ortiz.

Ricco Rodriguez, Tito Ortiz, Diego Sanchez, Nick Diaz, Nathan Diaz' Dominick Cruz, Frank Shamrock, Gilbert Melendez, Roger Huerta, Carlos Condit, Kelvin Gastelum, and UFC Heavy Weight Champion Cain Velasquez have been competitors in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) of mixed martial arts.

In 1991 Bill Guerin whose mother is Nicaraguan became the first Hispanic player in the National Hockey League (NHL). He was also selected to four NHL All-Star Games. In 1999 Scott Gomez won the NHL Rookie of the Year Award.[121]

In sports entertainment we find the professional wrestlers Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Tyler Black and Melina Pérez, and executive Vickie Guerrero.



Florida International University in Miami, Florida produced the most bachelors and Masters degrees to Hispanic students in the country.[122]
Bachelor's Degree or Higher
Educational Attainment (2010)
Ethnicity or nationalityPercent of
Non-Hispanic White30%
Costa Rican25%
General Hispanic population13%
General US population28%

In terms of educational attainment, Hispanic and Latino Americans of South American descent have the highest college graduation rates, and significantly higher than the national average. In 2013, Hispanic high school graduates passed Non-Hispanic Whites in rate of college enrollment. 69% of Hispanic high school graduates enroll in a university immediately after graduation.[124]

Those with a bachelors degree or higher ranges from 50% of Venezuelans compared to 18% for Ecuadorians 25 years and older. Amongst the largest Hispanic groups, those with a bachelors or higher was 25% for Cuban Americans, 16% of Puerto Ricans, 15% of Dominicans, and 9% for Mexican Americans. Over 21% of all second-generation Dominican Americans have college degrees, slightly below the national average (28%) but significantly higher than U.S.-born Mexican Americans (13%) and U.S.-born Puerto Rican Americans (12%).[125]

Hispanic and Latinos make up the second or third largest ethnic group in Ivy League universities, considered to be the most prestigious in the United States. Hispanic and Latino enrollment at Ivy League universities has gradually increased over the years. Today, Hispanics make up between 8% of students at Yale University to 15% at Columbia University.[126] For example, 18% of students in the Harvard University Class of 2018 are Hispanic.[127]

Hispanics have significant enrollment in many other top universities such as Florida International University (63% of students), University of Miami (27%), and MIT, UCLA, & UC-Berkeley at 15% each. At Stanford University, Hispanics are the second largest ethnic group behind Non-Hispanic Whites, at 18% of the student population.[128]

In the 2010 US Census, the high school graduation rate for Hispanics was 62% overall. It is highest among Cuban Americans (69%) and lowest among Mexican Americans (48%). The Puerto Rican rate is 63%, Central and South American Americans is 60%, and Dominican Americans is 52%.


Hispanic and Latino Americans are the longest-living Americans, according to official data. Their life expectancy is more than two years longer than for non-Hispanic whites and almost eight years longer than for African Americans.[129]

Workforce and average income[edit]

This graph shows the real median US household income by race: 1967 to 2011, in 2011 dollars.[130]

In 2002, the average individual income among Hispanic and Latino Americans was highest for Cuban Americans ($38,733), and lowest for Dominican Americans ($26,467) and Puerto Ricans ($27,877). For Mexican Americans, it was $33,927, and $30,444 for Central and South Americans. In comparison, the income of the average Hispanic American is lower than the national average.

Among Hispanics, Cuban Americans (28.5 percent) had the highest percentage in professional–managerial occupations. The percentage for Mexican Americans was 20.7, Central and South Americans' was 8.8 percent, and Puerto Ricans was 7.2 percent. All these are lower than the average for non-Hispanics (36.2 percent).[citation needed]


According to the ACS, the poverty rate among Hispanic groups is highest among Dominican Americans (28.1 percent), Mexican Americans (23.9 percent), and Honduran Americans and Puerto Ricans (23.7 percent both). It is lowest among South Americans, such as Colombian Americans (10.6 percent) and Peruvian Americans (13.6 percent), and relatively low poverty rates are also found among Salvadoran Americans (15.0 percent) and Cuban Americans (15.2 percent).[131]

In comparison, the average poverty rates for non-Hispanic White Americans (8.8 percent)[131] and Asian Americans (7.1 percent) were lower than those of any Hispanic group. African Americans (21.3 percent) had a higher poverty rate than Cuban Americans and Central and South Americans, but had a lower poverty rate than Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominican Americans.[131]

Cultural influence[edit]

The geographic, political, social, economic, and racial other diversity of Hispanic and Latino Americans extends to culture, as well. Yet several features tend to unite Hispanics and Latinos from these diverse backgrounds.

Spanish speakers in the United States
YearNumber of Spanish speakersPercent of
US population
198011 million5%
199017.3 million7%
200028.1 million10%
201037 million13%
2020 (projected)40 million14%


Hispanics have revived the use of Spanish in the US, originally brought to North America during the Spanish colonial period in the 16th century. Today, there are almost 40 million Spanish speakers in the US. Spanish is also the most popular language taught in the US.[136][137]

Hispanics have revived the Spanish language in the United States. First brought to North America by the Spanish during the Spanish colonial period in the 16th century, Spanish was the first European language spoken in the Americas. Spanish is the oldest European language in the United States, spoken uninterruptedly for four and a half centuries, since the foundation of St. Augustine.[36][37][38][39] Today, 90% of all Hispanic and Latinos speak English, and at least 78% speak Spanish.[138]

With 40% of Hispanic and Latino Americans being immigrants,[139] and with many of the 60% who are U.S.-born being the children or grandchildren of immigrants, bilingualism is the norm in the community at large: at home, at least 69% of all Hispanic and Latino Americans over age five are bilingual in English and Spanish, whereas up to 22% are monolingual English-speakers, and 9% are monolingual Spanish-speakers; another 0.4% speak a language other than English and Spanish at home.[138]

Spanglish and English accents[edit]

Main articles: Spanglish and Miami § Dialect

Hispanics have influenced the way Americans speak with the introduction of many Spanish words into the English language. Amongst younger generations of Hispanics, Spanglish, or a mix of Spanish and English, may be a popular way of speaking. Although they are fluent in both languages, speakers will switch between Spanish and English throughout the conversation. Spanglish is particularly common in Hispanic-majority cities and communities such as Miami, Hialeah, Los Angeles, and New York City.[140]

Hispanics have also influenced the way English is spoken in the United States. In Miami, for example, the Miami accent has evolved as the most common form of English spoken and heard in Miami. This is a native dialect of English, and was developed amongst second and third generations of Cuban Americans in Miami. Today, it is commonly heard everywhere throughout the city. A similar accent is found in the Southwestern United States where large Mexican American communities live.[141]


The most methodologically rigorous study of Hispanic or Latino religious affiliation to date was the Hispanic Churches in American Public Life (HCAPL) National Survey, conducted between August and October 2000. This survey found that 70% of all Hispanic and Latino Americans are Catholic, 20% are Protestant, 3% are "alternative Christians" (such as Mormon or Jehovah's Witnesses), 1% identify with a non-Christian religion (including Muslims), and 6% have no religious preference (with only 0.37% claiming to be atheist or agnostic). This suggests that Hispanics/Latinos are not only a highly religious, but also a highly Christian constituency.

It also suggests that Hispanic/Latino Protestants are a more sizable minority than sometimes realized. Catholic affiliation is much higher among first-generation than second- or third-generation Hispanic or Latino immigrants, who exhibit a fairly high rate of defection to Protestantism.[142] Also Hispanics and Latinos in the Bible Belt, which is mostly located in the South, are more likely to defect to Protestantism than those in other regions. Examples of Protestant denominations that experiencing an inflow of Hispanic/Latino converts are Pentecostalism[143][144] and the Episcopal Church.[145][146] Hispanic or Latino Catholics are also increasingly working to enhance member retention through youth and social programs and through the spread of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.[147]


Univisión is the country's largest Spanish language network, followed by Telemundo. It is the country's fourth-largest network overall.[148]

The United States is home to thousands of Spanish-language media outlets, which range in size from giant commercial and some non-commercial broadcasting networks and major magazines with circulations numbering in the millions, to low-power AM radio stations with listeners numbering in the hundreds. There are hundreds of Internet media outlets targeting U.S. Hispanic consumers. Some of the outlets are online versions of their printed counterparts and some online exclusively.

Among the most noteworthy Hispanic/Latino-oriented media outlets are:


Cuban cuisine common in Florida: Ropa vieja with black beans, rice and yuca
The Mexican burrito is now one of the most popular food items in the US

Hispanics, particularly Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Ricans, have influenced American cuisine and American eating habits. Mexican cuisine is now popular across the US, making tortillas and salsa more popular than hamburger buns and ketchup. Tortilla chips have also surpassed potato chips in annual sales, and plantain chips popular in Caribbean cuisines, have continued to grow in popularity.[149] Tropical fruit such as mango, guava, and passion fruit (maracuyá) have increasingly become more popular and are now common flavors in desserts, candies, and food dishes in the US.

Due to the large Mexican American population in the Southwestern United States, and its proximity to Mexico, Mexican food there is believed to be some of the best in the US. Cubans brought Cuban cuisine to Miami, and today, cortaditos, pastelitos de guayaba, and empanadas are common mid-day snacks. Cuban culture has changed Miami's coffee drinking habits, and today a café con leche or a cortadito is commonly had, often with a pastelito (pastry) at one of the city's numerous coffee shops.[150] The Cuban sandwich was invented in Miami, and is now also a staple and icon of the city's cuisine and culture.[151]

Family life and values[edit]

A Quinceañera after a Catholic Mass, celebrating a daughter's 15th birthday, common amongst Hispanic families.

Hispanic and Latino culture places a strong value on family, and is commonly taught to Hispanic children as one of the most important values in life. Statistically, Hispanic families tend to have larger and closer knit families than the American average, and Hispanic families tend to prefer to live near other family members. This may mean that three or sometimes four generations may be living in the same household or near each other, although four generations is very uncommon in the US. The role of grandparents is also believed to be very important in the upbringing of children.[152]

Hispanics tend to be very group-oriented, and an emphasis is placed on the well-being of the family, and not just on the individual. The extended family plays an important part of many Hispanic families, and frequent social, family gatherings are common. Traditional rights of passages, particularly Roman Catholic sacraments: such as baptisms, birthdays, First Holy Communions, quinceañeras, Confirmations, graduations, and weddings are all popular moments of family gatherings and celebrations in Hispanic families.[153][154]

Education is another important priority for Hispanic families. Education is seen as the key towards continued upward mobility in the US amongst Hispanic families. A 2010 study by the Associated Press showed that Hispanics place a higher emphasis on education than the average American. Hispanics expect their children to graduate university.[155][156]


Hispanic Americans, like immigrant groups before them, are out-marrying at high rates. Out-marriages comprise 17.4% of all existing Hispanic marriages in 2008.,[157] and the rate is higher for newlyweds (which excludes immigrants who are already married): Among all newlyweds in 2010, 25.7% of all Hispanics married a non-Hispanic (this compares to out-marriage rates of 9.4% of whites, 17.1% of blacks, and 27.7% of Asians). The rate was larger for native-born Hispanics, with 36.2% of native-born Hispanics (both men and women) out-marrying compared to 14.2% of foreign-born Hispanics.[158] The difference is attributed to recent immigrants tending to marry within their immediate immigrant community due to commonality of language, proximity, familial connections, and familiarity.[157]

In 2008, 81% of Hispanics who intermarried married non-Hispanic Whites, 9% married non-Hispanic Blacks, 5% non-Hispanic Asians, and the remainder married non-Hispanic, multi-racial partners.[157]

Of the 275,500 new intermarried pairings in 2010, 43.3% were White-Hispanic (compared to White-Asian at 14.4%, White-Black at 11.9%, and Other Combinations at 30.4%; other combinations consists of pairings between different minority groups, multi-racial people, and American Indians).[158] Unlike blacks and Asians, intermarriage rates between White and Hispanic newlyweds do not vary by gender. The combined median earnings of White/Hispanic couples are lower than those of White/White couples but higher than those of Hispanic/Hispanic couples. 23% of Hispanic men who married White women have a college degree compared to only 10% of Hispanic men who married a Hispanic woman. 33% of Hispanic women who married a White husband are college-educated compared to 13% of Hispanic women who married a Hispanic man.[158]

Attitudes amongst non-Hispanics toward intermarriage with Hispanics are mostly favorable with 81% of Whites, 76% of Asians, and 73% of Blacks "being fine" with a member of their family marrying a Hispanic and an additional 13% of Whites, 19% of Asians, and 16% of Blacks "being bothered but accepting of the marriage." Only 2% of Whites, 4% of Asians, and 5% of Blacks would not accept a marriage of their family member to a Hispanic.[157]

Hispanic attitudes toward intermarriage with non-Hispanics are likewise favorable with 71% "being fine" with marriages to Whites and 81% "being fine" with marriages to Blacks. A further 22% admitted to "being bothered but accepting" of a marriage of a family member to a White and 16% admitted to "being bothered but accepting" of a marriage of a family member to a Black. Only 3% of Hispanics objected outright marriage of a family member to a non-Hispanic Black and 3% to a non-Hispanic White.[157]

Political trends[edit]

Hispanics and Latinos differ on their political views depending on their location and background, but the majority (57%)[159] either identify themselves as or support the Democrats, and 23% identify themselves as Republicans.[159] This 34 point gap as of December 2007 was an increase from the gap of 21 points 16 months earlier. Cuban Americans and Colombian Americans tend to favor conservative political ideologies and support the Republicans, while Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominican Americans tend to favor liberal views and support the Democrats. However, because the latter groups are far more numerous—as, again, Mexican Americans alone are 64% of Hispanics and Latinos—the Democratic Party is considered to be in a far stronger position with the group overall.

The Presidency of George W. Bush had a significant impact on the political leanings of Hispanics and Latinos. As a former Governor of Texas, Bush regarded this growing community as a potential source of growth for the conservative movement and the Republican Party,[citation needed] and he made some gains for the Republicans among the group.

President Bill Clinton and his Hispanic and Latino appointees in 1998

In the 1996 presidential election, 72% of Hispanics and Latinos backed President Bill Clinton, but in 2000 the Democratic total fell to 62%, and went down again in 2004, with Democrat John Kerry winning Hispanics 58–40 against Bush.[160] Hispanics in the West, especially in California, were much stronger for the Democratic Party than in Texas and Florida. California Latinos voted 63–32 for Kerry in 2004, and both Arizona and New Mexico Latinos by a smaller 56–43 margin; but Texas Latinos were split nearly evenly, favoring Kerry 50–49, and Florida Latinos (mostly being Cuban American) backed Bush, by a 54–45 margin.

In the 2006 midterm election, however, due to the unpopularity of the Iraq War, the heated debate concerning illegal immigration, and Republican-related Congressional scandals, Hispanics and Latinos went as strongly Democratic as they have since the Clinton years. Exit polls showed the group voting for Democrats by a lopsided 69–30 margin, with Florida Latinos for the first time split evenly. The runoff election in Texas' 23rd congressional district was seen as a bellwether of Latino politics, and Democrat Ciro Rodriguez's unexpected (and unexpectedly decisive) defeat of Republican incumbent Henry Bonilla was seen as proof of a leftward lurch among Latino voters, as heavily Latino counties overwhelmingly backed Rodriguez, and heavily Anglo counties overwhelmingly backed Bonilla.

Although during 2008 the economy and employment were top concerns for Hispanics and Latinos, immigration was "never far from their minds": almost 90% of Latino voters rated immigration as "somewhat important" or "very important" in a poll taken after the election.[161] There is "abundant evidence" that the heated Republican opposition to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 has done significant damage to the party's appeal to Hispanics and Latinos in the years to come, especially in the swing states such as Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico.[161] In a Gallup poll of 4,604 registered Hispanic voters taken in the final days of June 2008, only 18% of participants identified themselves as Republicans.[162]

2008 election[edit]

In the 2008 Presidential election's Democratic primary Hispanics and Latinos participated in larger numbers than before, with Hillary Clinton receiving most of the group's support.[163] Pundits discussed whether a large percentage of Hispanics and Latinos would vote for an African American candidate, in this case Barack Obama, Clinton's opponent.[164] Hispanics/Latinos voted 2 to 1 for Mrs. Clinton, even among the younger demographic, which in the case of other groups was an Obama stronghold.[165] Among Hispanics, 28% said race was involved in their decision, as opposed to 13% for (non-Hispanic) whites.[165]

Obama defeated Clinton. In the matchup between Obama and Republican candidate John McCain for the presidency, Hispanics and Latinos supported Obama with 59% to McCain's 29% in the Gallup tracking poll as of June 30, 2008.[162] This surprised some analysts, since a higher than expected percentage of Latinos and Hispanics favored Obama over McCain, who had been a leader of the comprehensive immigration reform effort.[166] However, McCain had retracted during the Republican primary, stating that he would not support the bill if it came up again. Some analysts believed that this move hurt his chances among Hispanics and Latinos.[167] Obama took advantage of the situation by running ads aimed at the ethnic group, in Spanish, in which he mentioned McCain's about-face.[168]

In the general election, 67% of Hispanics and Latinos voted for Obama[169] and 31% voted for McCain,[170] with a relatively stronger turnout than in previous elections in states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Virginia helping Obama carry those formerly Republican states. Obama won 70% of non-Cuban Hispanics and 35% of the traditionally Republican Cuban Americans that have a strong presence in Florida, while the changing state demographics towards a more non-Cuban Hispanic community also contributed to his carrying Florida's Latinos with 57% of the vote.[169][171] Hispanics and Latinos also supplanted Republican gains in traditional red states, for example Obama carried 63% of Texas Latinos, despite that the overall state voted for McCain by 55%.[172]

Some political organizations associated with Hispanic and Latino Americans are LULAC, the NCLR, the United Farm Workers, the Cuban American National Foundation, and the National Institute for Latino Policy.

2012 election[edit]

Hispanic and Latinos went even more heavily for Democrats in the 2012 election with the Democratic incumbent Barack Obama receiving 71% and the Republican challenger Mitt Romney receiving about 27% of the vote.[173][174]

Cultural issues[edit]


Hispanophobia has existed in various degrees throughout U.S. history, based largely on ethnicity, race, culture, Anti-Catholicism, economic and social conditions in Latin America, and use of the Spanish language.[175][176][177][178] In 2006, Time Magazine reported that the number of hate groups in the United States increased by 33 percent since 2000, primarily due to anti-illegal immigrant and anti-Mexican sentiment.[179] According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, the number of anti-Latino hate crimes increased by 35 percent since 2003 (albeit from a low level). In California, the state with the largest Latino population, the number of hate crimes against Latinos almost doubled.[180]

For the year 2009, the FBI reported that 483 of the 6,604 hate crimes committed in the United States were anti-Hispanic comprising 7.3% of all hate crimes. This compares to 34.6% of hate crimes being anti-Black, 17.9% being anti-Homosexual, 14.1% being anti-Jewish, and 8.3% being anti-White.[181]

Relations with other minority groups[edit]

As a result of the rapid growth of the Hispanic population, there has been some tension with other minority populations,[182] especially the African American population, as Hispanics have increasingly moved into once exclusively Black areas.[183][184][185][186][187][188][189][190][191][192][193] There has also been increasing cooperation between minority groups to work together to attain political influence.[194][195][196][197][198]

See also[edit]

Places of settlement in United States:





  1. ^ a b US Census Bureau 2012 American Community Survey B03001 1-Year Estimates HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY SPECIFIC ORIGIN retrieved September 20, 2013
  2. ^ a b c U.S. Catholic Hispanic Population Less Religious, Shrinking
  3. ^ Growing number of Latinos have no religious affiliation
  4. ^ a b http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf
  5. ^ Luis Fraga; John A. Garcia (2010). Latino Lives in America: Making It Home. Temple University Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-4399-0050-5. 
  6. ^ Nancy L. Fisher (1996). Cultural and Ethnic Diversity: A Guide for Genetics Professionals. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8018-5346-3. 
  7. ^ Robert H. Holden; Rina Villars (2012). Contemporary Latin America: 1970 to the Present. John Wiley & Sons. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-118-27487-3. 
  8. ^ a b "49 CFR Part 26". Retrieved 2012-10-22. "'Hispanic Americans,' which includes persons of Mexican-, Puerto Rican-, Cuban, Dominican-, Central or South American, or other Spanish, culture or origin, regardless of race;" 
  9. ^ a b "US Small Business Administration 8(a) Program Standard Operating Procedure". Retrieved 2012-10-22. "SBA has defined 'Hispanic American' as an individual whose ancestry and culture are rooted in South America, Central America, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, or the Iberian Peninsula, including Spain and Portugal." 
  10. ^ Humes, Karen R.; Jones, Nicholas A.; Ramirez, Roberto R. "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-03-28. ""Hispanic or Latino" refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin regardless of race." 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder Help: Hispanic or Latino origin". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-10-05. "For Census 2000, American Community Survey: People who identify with the terms "Hispanic" or "Latino" are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the Census 2000 or ACS questionnaire - "Mexican," "Puerto Rican," or "Cuban" - as well as those who indicate that they are "other Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino." Origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any "race".
    1990 Census of Population and Housing: A self-designated classification for people whose origins are from Spain, the Spanish speaking countries of Central or South America, the Caribbean, or those identifying themselves generally as Spanish, Spanish-American, etc. Origin can be viewed as ancestry, nationality, or country of birth of the person or person's parents or ancestors prior to their arrival in the United States."
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  23. ^ "'Latino' . . . 'is more inclusive and descriptive'" than Hispanic. "'Latino' is short for 'latinoamericano,' which of course means Latin American in Spanish. Like its English counterpart, the term 'latinoamericano' strictly refers to the people who come from the territory in the Americas colonized by Latin nations, such as Portugal, Spain, and France, whose languages are derived from Latin. People from Brazil, Mexico, and even Haiti are thus all 'latinoamericanos.' Individuals who are decendants of the former British or Dutch colonies are excluded. . . . Finally, 'hispanoamericanos' are persons from the former colonies of Spain in the 'New World.' The expression 'Hispanic' probably derives from 'hispanoamericanos.'" Angel R. Oquendo, Re-Imagining the Latino/a Race, 12 Harvard BlackLetter L.J. 93, 96 -97 (1995)
  24. ^ "[T]he term 'Latino' . . . is more inclusive and descriptive than the term 'Hispanic.'" Deborah A. Ramirez, Excluded Voices: The Disenfranchisement of Ethnic Groups From Jury Service, 1993 Wis. L. Rev. 761, 806 (1993).
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Further reading[edit]

Surveys and historiography[edit]

Pre 1965[edit]

Culture and politics, post 1965[edit]

Regional and Local[edit]


Texas and Southwest[edit]

Other regions[edit]

Primary sources[edit]

External links[edit]