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|Hispanic or Latino|
16.88% of the U.S. population (2012)
|Regions with significant populations|
|All areas of the United States|
|Spanish • English • Indigenous languages|
|Predominantly Roman Catholic;|
minority of Protestants.
Minorities in numerous other religions.
|Related ethnic groups|
|Latin Americans, Spaniards, White Latin Americans, Criollos, Afro-Latin Americans, Asian Latin Americans, Mestizos, Mulattoes, Pardos, Castizos, Tejanos, Chicanos, Nuyoricans, and Brazilian Americans.|
|Hispanic or Latino|
16.88% of the U.S. population (2012)
|Regions with significant populations|
|All areas of the United States|
|Spanish • English • Indigenous languages|
|Predominantly Roman Catholic;|
minority of Protestants.
Minorities in numerous other religions.
|Related ethnic groups|
|Latin Americans, Spaniards, White Latin Americans, Criollos, Afro-Latin Americans, Asian Latin Americans, Mestizos, Mulattoes, Pardos, Castizos, Tejanos, Chicanos, Nuyoricans, and Brazilian Americans.|
Hispanics and Latinos (Spanish: hispanos [isˈpanos], latinos) are an ethnolinguistic group of Americans with genealogical origins in the countries of Latin America and Spain. More generally it includes all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino. Hispanic and Latinos are racially diverse, although predominately White or Mestizo. As a result of their racial diversity, Hispanics form an ethnicity sharing a language (Spanish) and cultural heritage, rather than a race. American Hispanics are predominately of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban ancestry.
Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. As of 2012, Hispanics constitute 17% of the United States population, or 53 million people. This figure includes 38 million Hispanophone Americans, making the US home to the largest community of Spanish speakers outside of Mexico, having surpassed Argentina, Colombia, and Spain within the last decade. Latinos overall are the second largest ethnic group in the United States, after non-Hispanic Whites (a group composed of dozens of sub-groups, like Hispanics and Latinos).
Hispanics have been in the territory of present-day United States continuously since the sixteenth century founding of Saint Augustine, Florida, by the Spanish. Hispanics are the longest among US ethnic groups and second-longest after Native Americans to inhabit what is today the United States.
Both terms Hispanic and Latino are not a race, but instead are an ethnicity, sharing a common culture, history, language, and heritage. A Hispanic and Latino can be of any race. In the United States, most Hispanics and Latinos are either White or Mestizo.
The difference between the terms Hispanic and Latino is sometimes misunderstood. Hispanics are people from any Spanish-speaking country (including Spain). Latinos are people from any Spanish-speaking or Portuguese-speaking Latin American country. Thus, the term Latino includes anyone from Brazil, while the term Hispanic does not. Therefore, a Mexican American or Cuban American, for example, is both a Hispanic and a Latino, whereas a Brazilian American is not Hispanic, and is instead Latino. 
Preference between the terms amongst Hispanics and Latinos depends on geography. Those in the Eastern United States tend to prefer the term Hispanic, whereas those in the West tend to prefer Latino (or Chicano if they are Mexican American). Neither term refers to race, as a person of Latino or Hispanic origin can be of any race.
|This section requires expansion with: more about the 19th and 20th centuries. (January 2010)|
A continuous Hispanic/Latino presence in the territory of the United States has existed since the 16th century, 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.
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.
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.
|Hispanic Group||Population||% of Hispanics|
As of 2011, Hispanics accounted for 16.7% of the national population, or around 52 million people. 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%). The growth rate from July 1, 2005 to July 1, 2006 alone was 3.4%—about three and a half times the rate of the nation's total population (at 1.0%). Based on the 2010 census, Hispanics are now the largest minority group in 191 out of 366 metropolitan areas in the US. 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.
|Rank||Metropolitan area||Hispanic population||Percent Hispanic|
|1||Los Angeles, California||5,804,000||45%|
|2||New York, New York||4,317,000||24%|
|9||San Francisco, California||1,114,000||23%|
|10||San Antonio, Texas||1,112,000||56%|
|11||San Diego, California||1,021,000||33%|
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.
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.
There are few recent immigrants directly from Spain. In the 2000 Census, 299,948 Americans, of whom 83% were native-born, specifically reported their ancestry as Spaniard. 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. 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.
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. The largest numbers of Black Hispanics are from the Spanish Caribbean islands, including the Dominican, Puerto Rican, Panamanian, and Cuban communities.
A significant portion of the Hispanic and Latino population self-identifies as socially Mestizo, particularly the Mexican and Central American community. 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.
The majority of American Hispanics self-identify as White. Most of the multi-racial population in the Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan communities are of Mestizo descent (European and Native American), while most of the multiracial population in the Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Cuban communities are of Mulatto descent (European and African).
Chicanos and Tejanos are Americans of Mexican descent. Chicanos live in the Southwest, and Tejanos in Texas. Each has a distinct culture, but share a common Mexican family heritage and identity. The term "Chicano" became popular amongst Chicanos in the 1960s during the Chicano nationalism and Chicano Movement, and is today seen as an ethnic and cultural identity by some. Political activist César Chávez and novelist José Antonio Villarreal are famous Chicanos.
Tejanos can be descendants of Spanish colonists from Spanish Colonial Texas, or can be used to identify someone recently arrived from Mexico. Tejanos have a distinct culture that has influenced American culture such as Tex-Mex cuisine and Tejano music. Famous Tejanos include entertainers Eva Longoria and Selena Gomez.
Nuyoricans are Americans of Puerto Rican descent from the New York City area. There are close to two million Nuyoricans in the US. Famous Nuyoricans include US Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor and singer Jennifer Lopez.
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.
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).
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.
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. 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. 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.
Robert Rodríguez is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor and musician.
Anita Page, who is of Salvadoran ancestry, was referred to as "the girl with the most beautiful face in Hollywood" in the 1920s.
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.
Hispanic and Latino business leaders include Cuban immigrant Roberto Goizueta, who rose to head of The Coca-Cola Company. 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. 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. Angel Ramos was the founder of Telemundo, Puerto Rico's first television station 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. 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.
As of 2007 there were more than five thousand elected officeholders in the United States who were of Latino origin.
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.
Numerous Hispanics and Latinos hold elective and appointed office in state and local government throughout the United States. 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. 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, 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.
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.
Among the distinguished Hispanic and Latino authors and their works may be noted:
Hispanics and Latinos have participated in the military of the United States and in every major military conflict from the American Revolution onward. 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:
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. Fermín Tangüis was an agriculturist and scientist who developed the Tangüis Cotton in Peru and saved that nation's cotton industry. 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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
|Ethnicity or nationality||Percent of|
|General Hispanic population||13%|
|General US population||28%|
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.
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%).
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. For example, 18% of students in the Harvard University Class of 2018 are Hispanic.
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.
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%.
|Universities with the largest Hispanic undergraduate enrollment (2013)|
|Universities with the largest Hispanic graduate enrollment (2013)|
|Hispanic student enrollment in university and college systems (2012-2013)|
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.
Workforce and average income
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).
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).
In comparison, the average poverty rates for non-Hispanic White Americans (8.8 percent) 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.
The geographic, political, social, economic, and racial diversity of Hispanic and Latino Americans makes all Hispanics very different depending on their family heritage and/or national origin. Yet several features tend to unite Hispanics from these diverse backgrounds.
As one of the most important uniting factors of Hispanic Americans, Spanish is an important part of Hispanic culture. Teaching Spanish to children is often one of the most valued skills taught amongst Hispanic families. Spanish is not only closely tied with the person's family, heritage, and overall culture, but valued for increased opportunities in business and one's future professional career. A 2013 Pew Research survey showed that 95% of Hispanic adults said "it's important that future generations of Hispanics speak Spanish." Given the US proximity to other Spanish-speaking countries, Spanish is being passed on to future American generations. Amongst second-generation Hispanics, 80% speak fluent Spanish, and amongst third-generation Hispanics, 40% speak fluent Spanish.
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 founding of Saint Augustine, Florida in 1565. Today, 90% of all Hispanic and Latinos speak English, and at least 89% speak fluent Spanish. Additionally, 2.8 million non-Hispanic Americans also speak Spanish at home.
With 40% of Hispanic and Latino Americans being immigrants, 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 Hispanics over the age of 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.
American Spanish dialects
The Spanish dialects spoken in the US differ depending on the country of origin of the person or the person's family heritage. Generally, however, Spanish spoken in the Southwest is Mexican Spanish (or Chicano Spanish). An old, colonial variety of Spanish is spoken by descendants of the early Spanish colonists in New Mexico and Colorado, which is New Mexican Spanish. One of the major distinctions of New Mexican Spanish is its heavy use of colonial vocabulary and verb tenses that make New Mexican Spanish uniquely American amongst Spanish dialects. The Spanish spoken in Florida and in the Northeast is Caribbean Spanish and is heavily influenced by the Spanish of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Isleño is the historic Spanish dialect spoken by the descendants of the earliest Spanish colonists beginning in the 16th century in Louisiana. Spanish spoken elsewhere throughout the country varies, although is generally Mexican Spanish.
Spanglish and English dialects
See also: List of English words of Spanish origin
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 common 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, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and New York City.
Hispanics have also influenced the way English is spoken in the United States. In Miami, for example, the Miami dialect has evolved as the most common form of English spoken and heard in Miami today. 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. Gloria Estefan and Enrique Iglesias are examples of people who speak with the Miami dialect. Another major English dialect, is spoken by Chicanos and Tejanos in the Southwestern United States, called Chicano English. George Lopez and Selena are examples of speakers of Chicano English.
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. 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 and the Episcopal Church. 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.
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:
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. 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. The Cuban sandwich was invented in Miami, and is now also a staple and icon of the city's cuisine and culture.
Family life and values
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.
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.
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.
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., 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. 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.
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.
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). 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.
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.
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.
Hispanics are present in all major American sports and leagues, but have particularly influenced the growth in popularity of soccer in the United States. Soccer is the most popular sport across Latin America and Spain, and Hispanics brought the heritage of soccer playing to the US. Major League Soccer teams such as Chivas USA, LA Galaxy, and the Houston Dynamo, for example, have a fanbase composed primarily of Mexican Americans.
Main article: Hispanic and Latino American politics
Hispanics and Latinos differ on their political views depending on their location and background, but the majority (57%) either identify themselves as or support the Democrats, and 23% identify themselves as Republicans. 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, and he made some gains for the Republicans among the group.
Elections of 1996-2006
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. Obama took advantage of the situation by running ads aimed at the ethnic group, in Spanish, in which he mentioned McCain's about-face.
In the general election, 67% of Hispanics and Latinos voted for Obama and 31% voted for McCain, 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. 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%.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
Relations with other minority groups
As a result of the rapid growth of the Hispanic population, there has been some tension with other minority populations, especially the African American population, as Hispanics have increasingly moved into once exclusively Black areas. There has also been increasing cooperation between minority groups to work together to attain political influence.
Places of settlement in United States:
Other Hispanic and Latino Americans topics:
Surveys and historiography
Culture and politics, post 1965
Regional and Local
Texas and Southwest