Hispanic and Latino
Americans are Americans of origins in Hispanic
countries of Latin America or in
Spain - "Mexican," "Puerto Rican," or "Cuban" - as well
as those who indicate that they are "other Spanish, Hispanic, or
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.
and Latinos constitute 15.4% of the total United States population, or 46.89 million people, forming the
second largest ethnic group,
after non-Hispanic White Americans
(which is also composed of dozens of sub-groups).
Hispanic and Latino Americans are the largest ethnic
minority in the United States; Black
, in turn, are the largest racial
minority, after White Americans in general (non-Hispanic and
Hispanic). Mexican Americans
, Colombian Americans
, Dominican Americans
, Puerto Rican Americans
, Spanish Americans
, and Salvadoran Americans
are some of the
Hispanic and Latino American sub-groups.
Hispanic or Latino heritage have lived continuously in the
territory of the present-day United States 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 American
Indians. 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. Spanish settlement of New Mexico resumed in
1692, and new ones were established in Arizona and California in the 18th century. 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.
For the U.S. government and others, Hispanic or Latino identity is
voluntary, as in the United States
, and in some market research.
The term Hispanic was first adopted by the United States government
during the administration of Richard
, and has since been used in local and federal employment,
, academia, and business market
research. It has been used in the U.S. Census since 1980. Due to
the popular use of "Latino" in the western portion of the United
States, the government adopted this term as well in 1997, and it
was used in the 2000 census.
Previously, Hispanics were categorized as "Spanish-Americans,"
"Spanish-speaking Americans," and "Spanish-surnamed Americans".
These terms, however, proved misleading or inaccurate, since:
- Although a large majority of Hispanics have Spanish ancestry,
most Hispanics are not of direct (non–Latin American) Spanish
descent; many are not primarily of Spanish descent; and some are
not of Spanish descent at all. For example, there are Hispanics of
other European ancestries
(e.g. Italian, German, Polish), as well as
Middle Eastern (e.g. Lebanese), Black, Amerindian/Native
American, Asian, and
mixed race ancestries — of the latter,
Mestizo (White and Amerindian/Native
American) and Mulatto (White and Black) are
the most common;
- Most U.S. Hispanics can speak Spanish, not all; and
most Spanish-speaking people are Hispanic, not all (e.g., many U.S.
Hispanics by the fourth generation no longer speak Spanish, while
some who are Spanish-speaking may not identify themselves with
Spanish-speaking Americans as a group;
- Many, perhaps most, Hispanics have a
Spanish surname, not all do
(notable examples of the latter include New Mexico governor Bill
Richardson and NFL star
Jim Plunkett), and most
Spanish-surnamed people are Hispanic, not all. For example, there are
many Filipino Americans, Chamorros (Guamanians and Northern Mariana Islanders), Palauans, Micronesians , and Marshallese with Spanish surnames in the United States who,
however, have their own, non-Hispanic ethnic identities.
Likewise, while a number of Louisiana Creole people have Spanish
surnames, they identify with the mostly French – though partially Spanish –
culture of the region.
The terms Hispanic
are held to be
mutually distinct by some authorities of American English
, as seen in the following
"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," has the broader
reference, potentially encompassing all Spanish-speaking peoples in
both hemispheres and emphasizing 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 word
latinoamericano—refers more exclusively to persons or
communities of Latin American origin.Of the two, 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."
Neither term refers to race, as a person of
Latino or Hispanic origin can be of any race.
As employed by the Census Bureau, Hispanic or Latino does
not include Brazilian Americans,
and specifically refers to "Spanish culture or origin",
although some dictionary definitions may include them or Brazilians in general. Furthermore,
Hispanic or Latino origin is, like race, a matter of
self-identification in the U.S., and government and non-government
questionnaires, including the census form, usually contain a blank
entry space wherein respondents can indicate a
Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin other than the few (Mexican, Puerto
Rican, and Cuban) which are specified; presumably, any Brazilian
American wishing to do so can thus self-identify as being of Latino
origin (as can anyone with no Latin American background). However,
the government's population reports do not include Brazilian
Americans with Hispanics and Latinos.
Listed here are the 28 Hispanic or Latino categories displayed in
Census 2000 tabulations: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban,
Dominican Republic; 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.
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
Mountains, the Mississippi
River, the Grand
Canyon and the Great Plains. Spanish ships sailed along the East Coast, penetrating to
Maine, and up the Pacific Coast as far as
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
Hernando de Soto undertook an
extensive exploration of the present U.S., and in the same year
Francisco Vázquez 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,
Gaspar de Portolà, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés,
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.
Spaniards probed half of today's lower 48 states before the first
English colonization attempt at Roanoke Island in 1585.
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).
came Spanish settlements in San Antonio, Texas, Tucson,
Arizona, San Diego, California, Los Angeles, California and San Francisco, California, to name just a few. The Spanish even
established a Jesuit mission in
Virginia's Chesapeake Bay 37
years before the founding of Jamestown.
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, Spain
held claim to roughly half of today's continental United States; in
1775, Spanish ships even reached Alaska.
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 — and several smaller ones. Hispanics became
the first American citizens in these new territories, and remained
a majority in several Southwestern states until the
20th century. (See also Viceroyalty of New Spain.)
Hispanic soldiers have fought in all the wars of the United
States. See also List of Hispanic
Medal of Honor recipients.
Hispanic Population by state
As of July 1, 2007,
Hispanics accounted for 15.1% of the national population, or around
45.4 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 much larger official figure is due to the absence of the
Some other race category from these estimates, which
instead reallocate that category among the five standard, minimum,
single-race categories, mostly the white category. The complete
2007 Hispanic or Latino racial breakdown is as follows: White 92% (official) or
54% (ACS); Black
or African American 3.8% (official) or 1.5% (ACS); American Indian
and Alaska Native 1.4% (official) or 0.8% (ACS); Asian 0.6%
(official) or 0.3% (ACS); Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific
Islander 0.3% (official) or 0.07% (ACS); Some other race 40% (ACS
only; not an official race); Two or more races 0.6% (official) or
||% of state
Though comprising very small percentages of the overall Hispanic
and Latino American population, and even more so in comparison to
the total U.S. population, some of the preceding racial subgroups
make up large minorities among the respective racial groups. For
instance, Hispanics and Latinos who are American Indian or Alaska
Native compose 15% of all American Indians and Alaska Natives (per
the ACS estimates). Meanwhile, the 120,000 Hispanics and Latinos
who are of Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander race compose
22% of this entire race nationally (per the Population Estimates).
Again, nearly a third of the overall 'Two or more race' population
is Hispanic or Latino (ACS).
Notable personalities and contributions
Hispanic and Latino Americans have made many distinguished
contributions to the United States in all major fields, such as
politics, the military, music, literature, philosophy, sports, business and economy, and science.
On September 17, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated a week in mid-September
as National Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended that week to a
month-long observance. The National Hispanic Heritage
Month is a time for Americans to educate themselves about the
influence Hispanic culture has had on society.
The president of the family–owned Goya
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. The largest
Hispanic-owned food company in the U.S. is Goya Foods, which position it attained under
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. International graphic design guru Kenley Diaz is the
developer of the Diaz Method of Design, and the founder of the
burgeoning pharma-design industry. Once lauded for his business
acumen, today, he is best known for his inventive design style and
fashion panache. Business mogul Linda
G. Alvarado is president and
CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc and co-owner of the Colorado Rockies baseball team. Nina Tassler 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
In the world of fashion, notable contributions have been made by
many Hispanic and Latino designers including Oscar de la Renta, Marisol Deluna, Carolina Herrera, and
Narciso Rodriguez among
Hispanic Americans have held important positions at all levels of
Since 1988, when Ronald Reagan
appointed the first Hispanic federal Cabinet member Lauro Cavazos as Secretary of Education,
Hispanic Americans have had an increasing presence in the cabinet.
Hispanics and Latinos in the cabinet 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;
Manuel Lujan, Jr., former
Secretary of the Interior; and Bill
Richardson, former Secretary of Energy and Ambassador to the
Governors include former governors Romualdo Pacheco, Bob Martinez, and current New Mexico governor
Bill Richardson. Former senators are Octaviano Ambrosio
Larrazolo,Mel Martinez, Dennis Chavez, Joseph Montoya, and Ken Salazar. Bob Menendez is the only current senator.
In the House of
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 Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Nydia Velázquez, Joe Baca, Silvestre
Reyes, Rubén Hinojosa,
Linda Sánchez, Luis Vicente
Gutiérrez, and John Salazar – in all,
they number twenty-three. Numerous Hispanic or Latino mayors and local
executives, and state and local legislators have held and
currently hold office throughout the United States.
Sonia Sotomayor became the first
Supreme Court Associate Justice
of Latin American 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
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, being the
first to die, in some cases. As of date 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. Hispanics and Latinos have
not only distinguished themselves in the battlefields, but are also
reaching the high echelons of the military, serving their country
in sensitive leadership positions on domestic and foreign shores.
Military recruitment is quite active in the nation's Hispanic
communities. Tens of thousands of Latinos are deployed in the
Iraq War, the Afghanistan War,
and US military missions and bases elsewhere. The following is a
list of notable Hispanics/Latinos in the military:
- Major General Terry de
la Mesa Allen, Sr. (1888-1969) was the commanding general of
the 1st Infantry
Division in North Africa and
Sicily during World War II, and was made
commander of the 104th Infantry
Division. He was the son of Colonel Samuel Edward Allen and
Conchita Alvarez de la Mesa.
- Lieutenant General Edward D.
Baca. In 1994, Baca became the first
Hispanic Chief of the
National Guard Bureau.
- Sergeant First Class Agustin
Ramos Calero, the most decorated soldier in the European Theatre of World War
- Vice Admiral Richard Carmona,
Health Service Commissioned Corps. Carmona served as the 17th
Surgeon General of
the United States, under President George W. Bush.
- Major General Luis R. Esteves, U.S. Army. In 1915, Esteves became the first Hispanic
to graduate from the United States Military
Academy ("West Point"). Esteves also organized the
Puerto Rican National
- Lieutenant Jorge Farragut
Mesquida (1755–1817) participated in the American Revolution as
a lieutenant in the South Carolina Navy.
- David Glasgow Farragut
(1801–1870), American Civil War
hero and the first-ever Admiral in the
United States Navy.
- Major General Salvador E.
Felices, U.S. Air Force.
Felices flew in 19 combat missions over North Korea, during the Korean
War. In 1957, he participated in "Operation
Power-Flite", a historic project that was given to the Fifteenth Air Force
by the Strategic Air Command
headquarters. Operation Power-Flite was the first around the world
flight by an all-jet aircraft.
- PFC Guy Gabaldon, USMC captured over a thousand
prisoners during the World War II Battle of Saipan.
- Captain Linda Garcia Cubero,
United States Air Force
became in 1990 the first Hispanic woman graduate of the United
States Air Force, and of any military academy for that matter.
Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez is the
only Hispanic graduate of the United
States Naval Academy ("Annapolis") to be awarded the Medal of
- Brigadier General Joseph V.
Medina, USMC made history by
becoming the first Marine Corps officer to take command of a
- Vice Admiral Antonia Novello,
Health Service Commissioned Corps. In 1990, Novello became the
first Hispanic (and first female) U.S. Surgeon General.
- First Lieutenant Oscar Francis
Perdomo, of the 464th Fighter Squadron, 507th Fighter Group was
the last "Ace in a Day" for the United States in World War II.
- Colonel Miguel E. Pino helped defeat the attempted invasion of
New Mexico by the Confederate
- Lieutenant General Elwood
R. Quesada, (1904–1993)
commanding general of the 9th Fighter Command, where he established
advanced headquarters on the Normandy
beachhead on D-Day plus one, and
directed his planes in aerial
cover and air support for the
Allied invasion of the European continent during World War II. He
was the foremost proponent of "the inherent flexibility of air
power", a principle he helped prove during the war.
- Captain Marion
Frederic Ramirez de Arellano (1913–1980), the first Hispanic
submarine commanding officer during World
- Admiral Horacio Rivero, Jr., second Hispanic
four-star Admiral, was the commander of the American fleet sent by
President John F. Kennedy to set up
a quarantine (blockade) of the Soviet ships
during the Cuban Missile
- Brigadier General Angela Salinas
made history when she became the first Hispanic female to obtain a
general rank in the Marines.
- Lieutenant General Ricardo
Sanchez, Commanding General of Operation Iraqi Freedom (the
Iraq War) in 2003.
- Lieutenant General Pedro del
Valle, the first Hispanic to reach the rank of Lieutenant General.
an instrumental role in the seizure of Guadalcanal and Okinawa as Commanding General of the U.S. 1st Marine Division
during World War II.
Created in 1995, the American Latino Media Arts Award, or ALMA Award is a distinction given to Latino
performers (actors, film and television directors, and musicians)
by the National Council of
La Raza. The most prestigious Latin music awards 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). In addition, the Latin
Grammy Awards airs on Univision, while the
Billboard Latin Music Awards airs on Telemundo; these are the two major
Spanish-language television networks in the United States.
There are many Hispanic American musicians that have achieved
international fame, such as Christina
Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez,
Joan Baez, Linda
Ronstadt, Zack de la
Rocha,Fergie, Gloria Estefan, Kat
DeLuna, Selena, Ricky Martin, Carlos
Santana, Marc Anthony, Demi Lovato, Selena
Gomez, Mariah Carey, Ritchie Valens, Frankie
J, and Robert Trujillo.
Hispanics and Latinos have also contributed prominent actors and
others in the film
industries, past and present, a few of whom includes director, producer, and cinematographer Robert Rodriguez. Robert Rodriguez has his
own film production company Troublemaker Studios. Hispanic and
Latino actors in film include Anthony
Quinn,Cameron Diaz, Martin Sheen, Salma
Hayek, Dolores del Río,
Rita Hayworth, Raquel Welch, Benicio del Toro, Jessica Alba, Eva
Mendes, Michelle Rodriguez,
Zoe Saldaña, Alexis Bledel, Danny
Trejo, Edward James Olmos,
Maria Montez, Ricardo Montalban, Jimmy Smits, Katy
Jurado, Marquita Rivera,
Rita Moreno, Lupe Vélez, Andy
Garcia, Rosario Dawson, John Leguizamo and Eva Longoria.
With respect to public
television, otherwise known as non-commercial television, there
are organizations that advocate a greater degree of programming
from a Hispanic or Latino perspective. The National Hispanic Media
Coalition (NHMC) has been a leader since its founding in 1986 in
advocating for Latino inclusion in television, radio, and film. In
1999, together with numerous Latino civil rights organizations, the
NHMC led a "brownout" of the national television networks 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. Also
prominent in this area is Latino Public Broadcasting, which
funds programs of educational and cultural significance to Hispanic
Americans. These LPB-funded projects are distributed to various
public television stations throughout the United States.
Kenny Ortega an Emmy award-winning American 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. A few
Actors and others in the, television past and present
history, include Charlie Sheen,
Desi Arnaz, Lynda
Carter, Eva Longoria Parker,
George Lopez, Benjamin Bratt, America Ferrera, Amaury Nolasco, Sara Ramírez, Erik
Estrada, Cote de Pablo, Lauren Vélez, Oscar
Nunez, Wilmer Valderrama,
Aimee Garcia, Joanna García, Lupe Ontiveros, Rosie
Perez, Eva La Rue, Mario Lopez, Nadine
Velazquez, Ricardo Antonio
Chavira, and Paula Garcés.
Dora the Explorer an animated
television series that is carried on the Nickelodeon cable television
network centers on a young Latina girl.
Among Hispanic Americans who have excelled in science we find
Luis Walter Alvarez, Nobel Prize-winning physicist; his son Walter Alvarez, the geologist who first
proposed the asteroid collision
theory of dinosaur extinction; and Ellen
Ochoa, pioneer of spacecraft technology and astronaut.
Several other Latinos have made a name for themselves in
aeronautics, among them: Juan R.
Cruz, NASA aerospace
engineer; France A.
Córdova, former NASA chief
scientist; Franklin Chang-Diaz
holds two records for being the first Latin American (for NASA) and
for most flights into space, and is the leading researcher on the
engine for rockets; Lieutenant
Carlos I. Noriega is NASA mission specialist and
computer scientist; Michael
Gutierrez, John Olivas, Joseph Acaba, George Zamka, Jose Hernández, and Fernando Caldeiro are all current or
Many Hispanic Americans have excelled in sports. The large number
of Hispanic and Latino American stars in Major League Baseball (MLB) includes
players Manny Ramirez, Lefty Gomez, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Hernandez, Roberto Clemente, Eric Chavez, Jorge
Cantú, David Ortiz, Sid Monge, Nomar
Garciaparra, Albert Pujols, and
managers Al Lopez and Ozzie Guillén.
There have been far fewer football
and basketball players, let alone star
players, but Tom Flores the first
Hispanic head coach, the first Hispanic quarterback in American professional football,
won Super Bowls as a player, as
assistant coach and as head coach for the Oakland Raiders. Anthony Muñoz enshrined in the Pro Football
Hall of Fame ranked #17 on Sporting
News' 1999 list of the 100 greatest football players and was
the highest-ranked offensive lineman. Jim Plunkett who won the Heisman Trophy and was inducted into the
Football Hall of Fame, Joe Kapp inducted into the
Canadian Football Hall of
Fame and College Football Hall of Fame. Steve Van
Buren, Martin Gramatica,
Marc Bulger, Tony
Romo and Mark Sanchez can also be
cited in National Football
League (NFL). Trevor Ariza,
Mark Aguirre, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Arroyo, Jose Calderon, and
Charlie Villanueva can be cited
in basketball in the National Basketball
Association (NBA). Diana Taurasi
professional basketball player in the Women's National
Basketball Association (WNBA). Taurasi became just the seventh
player ever to win an National Collegiate
Athletic Association (NCAA) title, a WNBA title as well as an
Olympic gold medal.
Boxing's first Hispanic world champion was
Panama Al Brown. Some other
champions include Oscar De La Hoya,
Miguel Cotto, Bobby Chacon, BJ
Flores and Olympic
medallist Paul Gonzales.
In 1999 Scott Gomez became the first
Hispanic player in the National
Hockey League (NHL) and won the NHL Rookie of the Year Award.
Tennis legend Pancho Gonzales and Olympic tennis champions
and professional players Mary Joe
Fernandez and Gigi
Fernandez; 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 Lopez, and Lee
Trevino; swimmer Dara Torres, softball
player Lisa Fernandez, and Paul Rodriguez Jr. X
Games professional skateboarder and son of stand-up comedian
and actor Paul Rodriguez. All
Hispanic or Latino Americans who have distinguished themselves in
In sports entertainment we find
in the World Wrestling
Entertainment (WWE) professional wrestlers Rey Mysterio former World Heavyweight
Champion , Eddie Guerrero former
WWE Champion and Melina former WWE Women's Champion as well as
former General Manager Vickie
Guerrero of the RAW and SmackDown brands.
The high school graduation rate is highest among Cuban Americans
(68.7 percent) and lowest among Mexican Americans (48.7 percent).
The Puerto Rican rate is 63.2 percent, Central and South American
Americans' is 60.4 percent, and the Dominican American is 51.7
According to the 2000 census, Cuban Americans and Central and South
Americans had the highest college graduation rates, with 19.4
percent of Cuban Americans and 16 percent of Central and South
Americans 25 years and older possessing a 4-year college degree. On the other hand, only 6.2
percent of Mexican Americans, 9.9 of Puerto Ricans and 10.9 of
Dominican Americans had achieved a 4-year degree. In comparison
non-Hispanic Asian Americans (43.3
percent) and non-Hispanic White
Americans (26.1 percent) had higher rates than any Hispanic
American group. Non-Hispanic Black
Americans (14.4 percent) had a lower graduation rate than Cuban
Americans and Central and South Americans, but had a higher rate
than Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominican
Cuban Americans have the highest attainment of graduate degrees
among all Hispanic or Latino groups, with 6.7 percent. The Central
and South American ratio is 4.2 percent. Both are lower than those
of non-Hispanic Asian Americans (15.6 percent) and non-Hispanic
White Americans (8.7 percent). Non-Hispanic Black Americans (4.1
percent) have a lower percentage of graduate-level degrees than
most Hispanic or Latino groups. Of Hispanics and Latinos 25 years
and older, only 3.1 percent of Puerto Ricans, 1.8 percent of
Dominican Americans and 1.4 percent of Mexican Americans have
attained a graduate-level degree.
Workforce and average income
Personal and household income (US
In 2002, the average individual income among Hispanic and Latino
Americans was highest for Cuban Americans ($38,733), and lowest for
Dominican Americans ($28,467) and Mexican Americans ($27,877). For
Puerto Ricans 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 Puerto Ricans was 20.7, Central and South Americans' was 16.8
percent, and Mexican Americans' was 13.2 percent. All these are
lower than the average for non-Hispanics (36.2 percent).
According to the ACS,
among Hispanic groups the poverty
rate is highest among Dominican Americans (28.1 percent),
Honduran Americans and Puerto Ricans (23.7 percent both), and
Mexican Americans (23.6 percent). 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) have a higher poverty rate than most
Hispanic or Latino groups.
Hispanophobia has existed in various
degrees throughout U.S. history, based largely on ethnicity, race,
culture, Anti-Catholicism, 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. In California, the state
with the largest Latino population, the number of hate crimes
against Latinos almost doubled.
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
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 (50–49 in favor
of Kerry), 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
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 Latinos 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
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. 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.
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. Among Hispanics, 28% said race was involved in their
decision, as opposed to 13% for (non-Hispanic) whites.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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. In all, a full 90% of all Hispanic and Latino
Americans speak English, and at
least 78% of all Hispanic and Latino Americans speak Spanish. Spanish is the oldest European
language in the United States, spoken uninterruptedly for four and
a half centuries, since the foundation of St. Augustine.
The usual pattern is monolingual Spanish use among new migrants or
older foreign-born Hispanics, complete bilingualism among
long-settled immigrants and the children of immigrants, and the
sole use of English, or both English and either Spanglish or colloquial Spanish by the third
generation and beyond.
The United States is home to thousands of Spanish language media outlets, which range in size from giant
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 which are online versions of their printed
counterparts and some online exclusively.
Among the noteworthy Spanish-language media outlets are:
- Univision, the largest Spanish-language
television network in the United States, with affiliates in
nearly every major U.S. market, and numerous affiliates
- Telemundo, the second-largest
Spanish-language television network in the United States, with
affiliates in nearly every major U.S.
market, and numerous affiliates internationally;
- La Opinión, a Spanish-language
daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California and
distributed throughout the six counties of Southern California. It is the largest
Spanish-language newspaper in the United States;
- El Nuevo
Herald and Diario Las Americas, both Spanish-language daily
newspapers serving the greater Miami, Florida market;
- Hispanic Business, an
English-language business magazine about Hispanics;
- Vida Latina, a Spanish-language
entertainment magazine distributed throughout the Southern United States;
- ConSentido TV, a TV, radio, and newspaper network in North Texas.
- Miguel A. De La Torre, "Encyclopedia on Hispanic
American Religious Culture," Volume 1 & 2, ABC-CLIO Publishers,